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Town Square

Where do our leaders live?

Original post made by Craig Laughton, College Terrace, on Jun 23, 2013

It is fair to ask where our various city leaders live, by neighborhood. By this, I mean council members and various board members, and city staff members. Please use your real name, and fully accept your own neighborhood. Why? Because Palo Alto politics gets skewed by those who are not affected by their own decisions, according to where they live.

I live in College Terrace, and my name is Craig Laughton, if that helps to give you courage.

Comments

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Posted by Well sure
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2013 at 5:07 pm

I guess it's fair to ask, it's also fair for them to decline to answer.
I do disagree about whether where they live is really relavent.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 23, 2013 at 5:16 pm

>I guess it's fair to ask, it's also fair for them to decline to answer.

What do they have to fear? It is such a simple request. Palo Alto citizens can determine their own opinion, once we get the basic facts. For example, how many welfare projects have been forced into their own neighborhoods? Are their own neighborhoods impacted by car campers?


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Posted by Vivian Vance
a resident of Monroe Park
on Jun 23, 2013 at 5:24 pm

" It is such a simple request. "
Yes and since we are in the USA, they can refuse the request.
If you are so interested in where the council lives, it is available on the city's website
Of course, another question to ask is how has the city been impacted by having to placate the high maintenance neighborhood of College Terrace, with their never ending demands?


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Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 23, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Larry Klein - Embarcadero Oaks/Leland Manor, BMR Units:0, PC Zoning: No
Liz Kniss - Old Palo Alto, BMR Units:0, PC Zoning: No
Greg Scharff - Old Palo Alto, BMR Units:0, PC Zoning: No
Nancy Shepard - Southgate, BMR Units: 0, PC Zoning: No
Greg Schmid - Palo Verde, BMR Units: some, PC Zoning:borders
Karen Holman - Crescent Park/Community Center, BMR Units: 0, PC Zoning: No
Pat Burt - Community Center, BMR Units: 0, PC Zoning: No
Marc Berman - Crescent Park, BMR Units: 0, PC Zoning: No
Gail Price - Barron Park, BMR Units: some, PC Zoning: Yes

Of course if one were into conspiracy theories, one would see a pattern that political contributions help to elect candidates to ensure that their neighborhoods would not be subject to BMR units or zoning for high density.


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Posted by Well sure
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Would you ask a judge to not rule on a case because they had never committed murder, or if they are not a certain race, gender, religion or sexual orientation? Should we all stop offerring up opinions/judgements on which we dont have the personal background? It would be more to the point to politely invite them to your area if you think there is something they need to experience first hand; however if they decline you should accept it. BTW, the example questions you are asking come across as confrontational to me and may not result in the cooperation you seek.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 23, 2013 at 5:45 pm

>Yes and since we are in the USA, they can refuse the request.

Of course, but since they are public officials, what is their fear? It is an issue of transparency. Why would they refuse to announce their neighborhood? Pretty basic stuff.

>Of course, another question to ask is how has the city been impacted by having to placate the high maintenance neighborhood of College Terrace, with their never ending demands?

I have no problem defending College Terrace. If Monroe Park had as many challenges as CT, I could, possibly, get behind your cause. Of course, you would need to explain what they are....


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Posted by Well sure
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2013 at 5:52 pm

"what is their fear?"

Why do you assume the only reason for not answering your question is fear?


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 23, 2013 at 6:11 pm

>Why do you assume the only reason for not answering your question is fear?

If they have no fear, whatsoever, no problem, just answer a simple question...what neighborhood do you live in?

common sense, thanks for your data...very helpful. I would like to see public officials confirm, including various board members.

We can all make up our own minds, once we all have the data.


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Posted by Well sure
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Why is it relevant?


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Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 23, 2013 at 6:24 pm

Well sure@another palo alto neighborhood:

One of the tenants of BMR housing is that it not all be located together, instead it should be "sprinkled" throughout a development or a community. Certainly one ideal that the council always like to talk about is "diversity". Yet none of the city council will want their neighborhood to have a BMR development so that they can benefit from the diversity, and meeting different people of different social & economic strata.

Instead the city council repeatly foists high density on a few neighborhoods: downtown, California Ave, Barron Park/Green Acres, Meadow Park/Charleston Garden.

By the way, Old Palo Alto is very close to a train station, via the underpass at N California & Alma. So why have none of the properties in Old Palo Alto been rezoned for high density development?


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 23, 2013 at 6:30 pm

>Why is it relevant?

Because politics are local, neighborhood by neighborhood. Ask Tip O.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Well Sure
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Well we can just disagree then. Good luck with your approach.


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Posted by Fred
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 23, 2013 at 7:18 pm

The idea that where our elected officials live is not relevant to how they vote - that seems either naive or just blind to experience. Of course it does - not necessary because of bald self-interest, but because one's point of view is formed in part by the people and situation one sees and experiences in everyday life. High density BMR may seem like a really good idea when it is located on a street where you don't know anyone and never go yourself. It probably seems less good when you have to live next door to it.

It's a worthwhile question - it doesn't demonstrate anything definitive, but worth keeping in mind. South Palo Alto is just not as well represented as the north, and that doubtlessly has consequences.


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Posted by Well sure
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2013 at 7:30 pm

Characterize my thinking as you wish. I just happen to think we are not necessarily required to all piss on the electric fence ourselves to known something is a bad idea. If you think them corrupt or incompetent elect other representatives.


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Posted by It Matters
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 23, 2013 at 8:32 pm

There should be more Council representatives from more neighborhoods south of Oregon Expressway. Right now, the overwhelming majority are from wealthier neighborhoods north of Oregon. As it stands, Council members have no real clue about the more southerly neighborhoods of Palo Alto, which have no one in their corner(s) to represent and fight on their behalf. The representation in this city is unbalanced and one-sided: north-sided.

How can that be fair? It is comparable to all Congressional representatives being from north of the Mason-Dixon Line, but claiming they can properly represent the southern states. Or, it would be as if all the representatives had home states east of the Mississippi, but insisted they could well-represent California and the western states! We ALL know that could never work!

Why is the City Council situation any different?


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Posted by Live?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2013 at 8:41 pm

The question is certainly fair. But the answer(s) are readily available, as common sense has shown. Why Craig is posing the question on this forum is not clear, since it is not an official venue in any sense. If he wants the answers, he should correspond directly with the counsel and board members or with the appropriate city employees.

I also don't know why Craig's statement of his name and neighborhood would give anyone courage to do anything.


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Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 23, 2013 at 10:09 pm

I think one criteria for voting for a council member is where they live, but as the recent Maybell zoning fiasco shows, the council member from Barron Park, in my opinion, did not represent that neighborhood very well.

Unfortunately, the election process in Palo Alto doesn't really enlighten the voters about the values of candidates: ie. how they will vote. Candidate forum don't provide a format for extensive questioning about candidate views. And almost all candidates try not to take position, but speak in platitudes, like "I'm for the environment".

There is a high correlation between a candidate's funding & their ability to get elected. Well funded candidates can put out multiple mailers, and the endorsement from the PA Weekly has the greatest influence on the "low information" voter. Developers and their friends are big contributors to the city council campaigns. For $20,000 (spread out among a bunch of business associates and friends) they can get council members pre-disposed to vote for zoning variances worth millions of dollars.

When was the last time a PC Zoning change ever got voted down?




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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2013 at 11:16 pm

Maybe city council districts instead of all at-large voting might correct so of the issues of misrepresentation by the candidates. District elections can be forced upon a city if an ethic group has been historical underrepresented.


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Posted by Silly question
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 24, 2013 at 12:23 am

What a strange question. Where they live is public information. Maybe we need to chip in and get Mr. Laughton a computer.
If this is the level of your understanding of why they vote as they do, you need a little political science education. Or maybe just some relevant life experience.


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Posted by Craig's games
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 24, 2013 at 9:14 am

Craig plays this "where do you live" game all the time on this forum. It's a simplistic approach for him to blame all the issues on the city on the mistaken belief that it all has to do with where everyone lives.
The information about the council is available. The staff are employees so it is none of Craig's business where they live.
Of course Craig lives in the part of the city that likes to consider itself "under constant siege"--that is how they extort concessions from the city. Maybe the issue is that the city wastes too much of their time and resources trying to satisfy an insatiable group of people.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 24, 2013 at 11:34 am

>The staff are employees so it is none of Craig's business where they live.

The staff are very powerful in Palo Alto. I think we deserve to know where they live. The Maybell decision to give PAHC over $5M, and the decision to put that project on a housing priority list, did not come out of thin air...staff had to have a big say in that. How many of the staff live in Barron Park?


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Posted by Craig's games
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 24, 2013 at 11:43 am

"I think we deserve to know where they live."

You may have that sense of entitlement, Craig, to know where everyone lives, but in reality it is none of your business. But another question is why are you posting your demands on this forum--to stir the pot????
As Live? pointed out, this is not an official forum. If you feel strongly about this, go to the next council meeting and make your demands. You will be laughed out of the council chambers. Or approach the staff members and ask them directly--be brave.

Bottom line, Craig, it is none of your business where staff live and you cannot come up for any justification to know that information (I should say a real justification-- not your faulty logic)


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 24, 2013 at 11:58 am

>this is not an official forum

Never said it was. However, it is a public interest forum hosted by the PA Weekly. "Palo Alto Issues" is one of the subject choices. Trying to determine how our council and staff and board members make their decisions is very much a Palo Alto Issue. Transparency is usually a good thing. Why would you oppose it?


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Posted by palo alto parent
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 24, 2013 at 12:07 pm

"So why have none of the properties in Old Palo Alto been rezoned for high density development?"? Because a 26K lot sells for $9 million dollars as opposed to 2 1/2 acres (about 100K square feet) for $5 million. It's too expensive to buy land and build.

"There should be more Council representatives from more neighborhoods south of Oregon Expressway" Absolutely true, but unless people run, they will not get elected.


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Posted by Craig's games
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 24, 2013 at 12:29 pm

"Trying to determine how our council and staff and board members make their decisions is very much a Palo Alto Issue. "
It may be a "Palo Alto issue", but this is not an official forum and many of the postings here are opinions and some are lies. So if you are really interested in determining how our council makes decisions, and not just stirring the pot for your own self-gratification, then this is not the place.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 24, 2013 at 12:56 pm

>it is private matter for the staff and none of your business

Since city employee salaries are disclosed in our local newspaper(s), why would it not be more important to disclose where our city employees live? Salaries have much less to do with political decisions, than do skin-in-game issues, like where they live.


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Posted by Craig's games
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 24, 2013 at 1:02 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 24, 2013 at 1:25 pm

[Portion removed.]

I am here, on this forum, using my own name. Care to join me, using your own name? If so, it would provide some credibility for you. For example, there are a number of people in College Terrace, that can verify that I have lived here for decades (whether they oppose my ideas, or not). You claim to be from CT, which is OK, but by using your real name, the facts can be established. It is called transparency.

To my knowledge, there is nothing seriously wrong with me, but others may disagree. My intention is not to make this a personality contest...just to challenge some of the conventional wisdoms that seem to prevent an honest discussion of Palo Alto issues. Allowing PA citizens to understand where their leaders live is part of that process.


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Posted by Craig's games
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 24, 2013 at 1:35 pm

[Portion removed.] If you want to know where all the city staff lives, then go before the city council and make that demand, explaining why you want private information to be divulged.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 24, 2013 at 1:45 pm

> explaining why you want private information to be divulged.

Salaries of public officials are already disclosed. Just add in another box: Where they live (by town, then by neighborhood, if they live in PA). Transparency is not a bad thing, in general. PA citizens can determine how relevant it is.


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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 24, 2013 at 3:26 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Timothy Gray
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 24, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Certainly our leaders make decisions that are fair and equitable for all areas of Palo Alto.

Well, recent historical facts indicate otherwise.

Look at the Maybell Project, the distribution of neighborhood disruptive Planned Community Zoning and the increased density that goes with it and you will see a Northern oriented Council leadership that clearly dumps on the South.

While they may mouth the words, One City, One Solution for all, just look at the Rail Policy that is being proposed tonight to the CIty Council by a High Speed Rail Committee that is composed entirely of North Palo Alto Residents.

Web Link

The above link details the policy change and how it will be used to protect the interest of the North by advocating for Undergrounding of the HSR, while potentially allowing a highly divisive elevated track to run through neighborhoods in the South.

By placing the item as a administrative action on a consent calendar, the Northern leaders are diluting the protections of the South Palo Alto Neighborhoods, and violating the notion of transparency in spirit and in fact.

There are too many data points for any realist to argue that where our leaders live does not matter.

This is not a divisive comment, just a factual observation that the representation of residents interest has failed.

Respectfully,

Tim Gray

Just look at the Maybell housing project story to see this in action as well


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Posted by Well so
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Craig,

How would you use that information, if you had it? I dont see it as a valid information for any purpose.


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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 24, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Craig flawed hypothesis is that staff do not support high density housing or senior housing in their neighborhoods. He provides no proof for this. So he is asking to ond out where staff lives. He knows that he will not get that information. So then he can happily continue to push his bogus hypothesis.
Timothy-- too bad you did not get elected to the council. I think ou would have a difference. Unfortunately you are not the kind of candidate the weekly wants in office -- you criticized the weekly and it's editor, you did not buy advertisement in the weekly and you do not " donate" to the weekly.


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Posted by Well so
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2013 at 4:28 pm

I see where others have mentioned high density housing in this thread, but not Craig.
Craig is that your issue?


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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 24, 2013 at 4:56 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Well so
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Not an issue,

Seldom do these threads stay on topic and Craigs expansion is not a huge deviation.
He rightly points out that they influence the decision process, but where they sleep at night is their personal business.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 24, 2013 at 5:33 pm

>Craig,

How would you use that information, if you had it? I dont see it as a valid information for any purpose.

Just let PA citizens determine their own opinions. What are you fearful of? The power figures in PA should be identified by where they live. It is called transparency. What is wrong with that?


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Posted by Well so
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Well as pointed out previously, you know where they live, so be happy, you have what you want.


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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 24, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Craig- the information about the city's elected officials is public knowledge. Who is stopping palo alto residents from determining their own opinions? Where the city staff live is personal information and not any of your business. It is not transparency-- it is an attempted invasion of privacy. You think that invading privacy is okay?
Also you have yet to,prove your hypothesis that where staff lives actually influences their decisions. And if you wanted personal staff information, why not state that in your title for this thread?


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 24, 2013 at 5:59 pm

>It is not transparency-- it is an attempted invasion of privacy.

That's what they used to say about publishing their salaries. It is more important to know where they live, rather than their salaries. Just do it. I fail to see the problem.


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Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 24, 2013 at 6:11 pm

Well, Craig, the salary issue is completely different-- that is tax dollars paying salaries for public employees-- that should be available to all. Private companies do not have to disclose salaries. Same with the address of employees- that should be off limits. It is an invasion of privacy- pure and simple. I am not sure why you feel
That you have aright to know where employees live. You have yet to provide any compelling evidence for invading the privacy of city staff. Stop avoiding the question and provide the proof for why you need to know the addresses of the city staff.
The fact that you fail to see a problem speaks volumes


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Posted by Well so
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2013 at 6:14 pm

Just because you fail to see the problem, does not mean there isnt one. They have a right to their private lives as do you. I assume you aren't going to start offering up information about yourself like your salary, where you derive income, what your assets are, your last tax filing etc? After all shouldn't we know what all your motivations come from? ;-)


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 24, 2013 at 6:29 pm

>tax dollars paying salaries for public employees-- that should be available to all

I agree. Just add in their basic address information, which is much more important than salary information, IMO. Allow PA citizens to draw their own conclusions. What is the fear and denial about?


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Posted by So well
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 24, 2013 at 7:44 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 24, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Craig Laughton is a registered user.

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 5, 2013 at 5:05 pm

Craig Laughton is a registered user.

I want to continue this discussion. Why? Because the PA leadership class does not tend to suffer the consequences of their own decisions. For example, where do the Board members of PAHC or Inn Vision live? How many welfare units are being built in their own neighborhoods? Noblesse oblige may look good on their portfolios, but do they really walk their talk? If they claim that they do, then they need to name the properties, in their own neighborhoods, that are up for grabs (by them).


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 6, 2013 at 11:30 am

Craig Laughton is a registered user.

I would add the ARB...where do they live? Anywhere near the 'New Urbanism' ugliness that they push on us?