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By Douglas Moran

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About this blog: Real power doesn't reside with those who make the final decision, but with those who decide what qualifies as the viable choices. I stumbled across this insight as a teenager (in the 1960s). As a grad student, I belonged to an org...  (More)

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Candidate Kickoff Events: Public, not just for supporters

Uploaded: Aug 22, 2014
Kick-off events for the campaigns for the candidates for Palo Alto City Council and the School Board begin this Saturday and extend into mid-September. While there will be many more campaign events, these Kick-offs are different because of the range of politicians that attend: other candidates in these races, plus our legislators and members of various boards and commissions. You can often have extended substantive discussions with these other politicians because most everyone else is focused on the candidate whose event it is.

Over the years, I have found these to be the best place to get the sense of new candidates, especially things that are unlikely to appear in print or in other public events. For the City Council race, the number of candidates (12) means that at a forum, each candidate will likely spend a total of only 4-7 minutes answering questions. It's not that hard for a campaign team to prepare a candidate for that. But when you have the ability to ask a follow-up question or two, you start to see what a candidate knows and how he thinks. For example, many years ago at one of these events, I was curious about how well a particular candidate could hide his weaknesses. I encouraged several friends to talk to him and then asked for their reactions--they independently said "Charming airhead, but he's going to win." They were right on both counts.

Recognize that you yourself don't have to be that knowledgeable about particular issues to get a sense of the candidate. You can stand just outside the circle of people asking questions of the candidate, and listen and watch how the questioners respond to the candidate's responses.

If you attend the event, what are your obligations? None. There will be a speech asking you to consider donating time and/or money, but I have never encountered even mild social pressure to donate. The typical event begins with mingling and refreshments. At the 45-60 minute mark, there are speeches, a number of introductions by "significant" people and then the speech by the candidate. The introductions are of varying quality--some are tedious, others are quite interesting. My practice is to stand to the side in the back so that I can wander away from the tedious one. Although the candidate's speech is the formal end of the event, it is routinely followed by more mingling. If you want to talk to the candidate, this is often the best time: All the important people talked to him/her before the speech, and with the pressure of the speech off, the candidate is often more chatty.

Chronological listing for (upcoming) Kickoff Events for candidates for Palo Alto City Council (CC) and School Board (PAUSD)
Although the events in "private homes" may well be open to the public (they often are), I am not publishing the location here. If the candidate has a website, check under "Events".

Catherine Crystal Foster (PAUSD): 5 September (Friday) 5:30-7:30pm Location: private home--RSVP via campaign website

Eric Filseth (CC): 7 September (Sunday) 12N - 2pm Location: Ramos Park (on East Meadow)
campaign website

Nancy Shepherd (CC): 7 September (Sunday) 2-4pm Location: private home--RSVP via campaign website

Terry Godfrey (PAUSD): 7 September (Sunday) 4pm Location: private home--RSVP via campaign website

A.C. Johnston (CC): 12 September (Friday) 5:30-7:30pm at private home of Ralph and Jackie Wheeler (3956 Nelson Ct)

Lydia Kou (CC): 14 September (Sunday) 4-6pm Location: private home
campaign website

Unknown/none planned. I will move them to the above listing as I hear of them
?Jay Blas Jacob Cabrera (PAUSD): campaign website
?Wayne Douglass (CC)
?John Fredrich (CC): no kick-off event. campaign website
?Mark Weiss (CC): blogging website

Already occurred
Seelam Reddy (CC)

Gina Dalma (PAUSD): 13 August:
campaign website

Ken Dauber (PAUSD): 23 August (Saturday) 1-3pm Location: 433 Kingsley Ave (private home but confirmed public is invited):To-RSVP
campaign website

Cory Wolbach: 23 August (Saturday) 3-4:30pm Location: Seale Park

Tom DuBois (CC): 24 August (Sunday) 2-4 pm, Location: Robles Park (on Park Blvd)
campaign website

Greg Scharff (CC): 24 August (Sunday) 4-6pm Location: private home

Karen Holman (CC): 4 September (Thursday) 5:30-7pm Location: private home:
campaign website

The Guidelines for comments on this blog are different from those on Town Square Forums. I am attempting to foster more civility and substantive comments by deleting violations of the guidelines.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by stephen levy, a resident of University South,
on Aug 22, 2014 at 7:03 am

stephen levy is a registered user.

Thanks for the heads up.

Posted by Ken Dauber, a resident of Barron Park,
on Aug 22, 2014 at 7:31 am

Hi Doug, thanks for publicizing these. You can find details about my kickoff on my campaign website, here: Web Link Everyone is invited.
[[From blogger: Thanks. Have incorporated this info into the main posting]]

Posted by Wilson, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Aug 22, 2014 at 11:13 am

Hope that the Blogger will be reporting on as many of these events as he is able to attend--in his typical, no-holds-barred fashion.

Posted by Gina Dalma, a resident of South of Midtown,
on Aug 22, 2014 at 10:21 pm

Thanks, Doug. My Kick-Off was held on August 13th (Web Link but I look forward to meeting anyone who could not attend at one of the more than 10 open houses. For more information, please visit Web Link

Posted by Catherine Crystal Foster, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Aug 24, 2014 at 12:20 am

Thanks, Doug, for putting this out there. I've always enjoyed attending kick-offs and seeing the candidates in action, talking to potential constituents. To learn more about me and the kick-off, please visit my website at You can join the conversation on Facebook at To RSVP to the kick-off, please email
Looking forward to meeting you!

Posted by Sea-Seelam Reddy, a resident of College Terrace,
on Aug 26, 2014 at 5:36 am

Dear Palo Alto Citizens

Douglas, here summarized for you what the candidates communication plans are. Thanks Doug for putting me in a category as 'already occurred'; yet it's only the beginning.

I, Sea (Seelam) Reddy, started my candidacy on July 1, happens to be my official birthday.

Since then, I have met many citizens, got signatures for my candidacy and got 46 people to trust me to run for office.

I need to make a case for 'you' the citizens of Palo Alto that I am worthy of representing you.

So, here is what I propose

1. I live on 747 Stanford Avenue in college terrace area we all love.

a. I am going to walk to as many neighborhoods as possible to meet you and plead for your vote.

b. I may leave you a business card size campaign material for you to read

c. I am available to chat with any size groups if you let me know and invite me.

d. I am at Starbucks on 2000 El Camino Real most of the mornings for coffee

e. Individually, you are welcome to visit my 800 sq. ft. lovely home/unit and knock at my door any decent time 6am -11pm

f. You may call me any decent time including after 5 am till midnight

my phones are

650-465-3535 cell
650-857-0240 landline
650-384-0060 VoIP
949-857-2000 back up cell

my email addresses are

g. I have been frequently blogging with Palo Alto weekly online forums. I may or may not create a dog and pony show website.

I would rather meet with you in person.

h. I am going to re-enter the information below of my plans - revised a few times/clarified a few times

Posted by Seelam Reddy, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 8, 2014 at 3:56 am
Good morning

Our plan

1. No new tall buildings
2. No new affordable housing projects
3. Resolve traffic congestion + school board/school issues
4. Be senior citizen/family/youth/student friendly
5. No new taxes; strive to lower taxes
6. Respect home owners/and renters needs; keep our town clean; remove trash
7. Refurbish old buildings and innovative energy solutions
8. Plant more trees and green grass - less concrete
9. Keep downtown bustling; make it inviting - keep parking rules the same
10.Team with our stake holders; School Board, Stanford, businesses
11.Innovate not stagnate

Posted by Seelam Reddy, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 3, 2014 at 3:16 am

Posted by Seelam Reddy, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 5, 2014 at 5:44 am
Good morning
Commenting on 'Citizen' and 'Biking Mom' inputs

My take on this is
1. We want sensible Palo Alto growth; not a mini-San Jose; not a city with higher population than what we have; no ugly tall building; no parking lots with more concrete; Keep Palo Alto just as beautiful; let the sunset on trees during the evenings fall on our trees that make PA a wonderful place to live.

2. We want go 'grow' innovative way and manage our existing resources and keeping up with 'energy efficient technologies' that make our city one of the top cities in our grouping. Plant more grass, plants and improve on the looks. We cannot be sitting idle; can not afford to.

3. Engage industry that is in our town to cooperate; share ideas. Go look at VMware campus - VMware transformed old Roche campus into a beautiful landscape and buildings!

4. Once again, no tall buildings. Sensible growth. Refurbish aging buildings and infrastructure to be energy efficient.

Innovation is not a buzz word; it has to be built in our thinking.

When I walk around College Terrace, I say how lucky we are with what we have in the area; beautiful parks; small library; parents walking with their children; we truly live in a fine town; we are not going to spoil that.

Do we have too many restaurants in downtown? As some businesses leave, can these be transformed into small start-up technology firms; SAT prep/ART learning centers; education focus - like in Menlo Park downtown? (just a thought- your input is valuable!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Report Objectionable Content

Regarding keeping interest of our small town 60000+ population; if I am not mistaken Newport Beach is about that size. I lived in Irvine next door for 22 years and it grew to 115000+ and I noticed big change negatively!

My purpose to live in Palo Alto was deliberate. A small town, smart people, beautiful trees, great access to hospital as I need these services; intellectual stimulus, hundreds of start-ups; and many more!

I repeat I feel we live in heaven on earth. My specific work experience on mergers and acquisitions work is on due diligence; day 1 preparation, integration of the acquired company into our company etc.

I did not make the deals - that is a different group; both at Hughes, Boeing and VMware.

I am not going to sell out to anybody including big businesses.

We do need their cooperation to take great initiatives to make our lives better and smarter to get 10x fold improvements. We can influence them.
It is again give and take.


Finally, I would like to hear from you:

I want to represent you

a. you may call me on any of the lines
b. you may stop by at 2000 El Camino real for coffee; it is one me if it is couple (spending limits by government and my pension budget)
c. let me know privately through the emails
d. knock at my door

I am hopefully worthy enough to represent you.

Please keep an eye on earth quake preparedness.


Posted by John Fredrich, a resident of Barron Park,
on Aug 28, 2014 at 5:13 pm

Thanks for this run-down, Doug,

I'm not having a kick-off, although the launch of my website would have been close to that.
Were there a press release about my candidacy it would simply say, "John Karl Fredrich has resumed campaigning."
Hope to see you on the hustings...I'm over here on La Para, by the way.

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