City Council needs to be downsized and by district
Original post made
by openspace, Palo Alto Hills,
on Jul 24, 2007
Currently the City Council is not proportional in representation of the city of Palo Alto. If you locate each council member to the City Zoning map, there are 6 council members that represent Zones 1 ,4 and 5. Which means that these council members will pay more attention to what is going on Downtown Palo Alto and Stanford Area than the rest of Palo Alto. Lately council members have not been tackling issues fairly that are not within their own districts. Specifically the Fire Department issue sticks out as a sore thumb and shows that Council does not care for people who live in Zones 14, 15 and 16.
We need to downsize the council to 5 council members which will represent zones of Palo Alto. This would create a fairer representation of the City and ensure that the council members will represent their zones when enacting new city resolutions.
I would also argue for a four year term Mayor who could focus on issues like Fire Department, education and City Growth. The revolving one year term is not doing the job for city needs.
Looking at the Zone Map, I believe that the zoning for Council members should be
Council 1 = Zones 1, 4 and 5
Council 2 = Zones 2, 3 and 6
Council 3 = Zones 8, 9 and 7
Council 4 = Zones 10,11, 12 and 13
Council 5 = Zones 14, 15 and 16
Council 6 should be reserved for the Vice Mayor
Take a look at the Zone Map of Palo Alto and map out out each council members to see what areas they represent. You will see that it is disproportional. The same is true for those serving on other commission such as the Planning and Transportation.
Posted by Uncle Vinnie
a resident of Ventura
on Jul 25, 2007 at 12:27 am
Your Chicago observation is right on. When you are in the garbage industry like we are, from time to time you need a go-to Councilman to get things straightened out. This has not been possible in Palo Alto in decades, if ever. Now Los Gatos is another story. Regarding representation, being a member of a good union is all that is necessary. When we show up in purple shirts, Council sees it our way nearly every time. If they don't, five Council members or nine, it makes no difference to us. We know where you live, whether it is quadrant 4, 14 or 44. But seriously, if you look at that map and just elect representatives from odd numbers regions one time and from even numbers districts the next, then every third Council election, go back to the old way of picking people, that would be the fairest way. There would never again being a split between the NW and SE segments of our city, all six quadrants would be represented equally, Stanford would cast the deciding vote, and everyone would be happier for it.
I don't think people appreciate all that Stanford has done for us. When they bought out the hospital from the city, for example, they paid top dollar and made a commitment to Palo Alto that your doctors could always use the hospital until 2004. Now with the bigger and better hospital coming (Twin Towers plus One), that rule will be ripped up and a new idea extending the commitment past 2004 to 2014 seems fair to all concerned. Do you agree, or would you rather we went back to the original agreement, then just extended it for $1 per year until you didn't want to pay anymore, or a woman became president, would that be fair? Put my name in the hat should a ground swell develop to elect me Mayor for 4 years; I would prefer 8 with a six-figure salary, plus car allowance, and of course 4 weeks vacation, 10 days of personal time, every other Friday off, except when the city is on lock down, full medical in perpetuity for my pets, vesting of my retirement account the earlier of 1) age 52, 2) my 56th birthday after working for the city for at least 10 years, or as soon as my youngest child graduates high school, and I get keep the house and all the equity in it. When you study the fine print in my employment agreement, you will find no one on city council can criticize me in public or take my house away, even if I take another job in Lodi. I like that rule and the other one which says I cannot call on my cell phone when incarcerated, except during family emergencies which I have all the time or bake sales. Our union is four square behind the Promenade idea and think, with a little tweaking, it should be extended to every weekend, but to bring all the communities together in this, rotate cities; the first weekend per month in downtown Palo Alto, the second weekend in downtown Portola Valley, the third weekend downtown Woodside, and finally the Promenade would move to downtown Los Altos Hills. We like the idea of putting up and taking down barriers when overtime is double and triple; in Los Altos Hills, we could be on the job forever just trying to find their downtown. Maybe that is the reason they are trying to rent a park from us; they don't have a park either. That's the simple life. And I believe they only have 5 members on their council. They are on to something.