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Early Campaign Notes: City Council

Uploaded: Sep 18, 2014
I attended all the announced kick-off events for City Council candidates and these are my observations on what was surprising (and what may bear further watching) or might not otherwise become part of the wider public discourse. This is not intended to be a uniform treatment of all the candidates. Four of the candidates?Wayne Douglass, John Fredrich, Seelam Reddy and Mark Weiss?didn't have public events of their own and I haven't seen enough of them elsewhere to make substantial comments on them.

If you attended one of these events and were surprised by something, I invite, nay encourage, you to add a comment. I have been at campaigning long enough, and know enough of the people, that I may well have become desensitized and missed things that are surprising and interesting to newer participants.
Note: Comments on issues or personalities that have been well-discussed elsewhere (eg, articles, Town Square Forums) are off-topic for here.
Note: Most of my observations are related to watching and listening?I find questioning candidates to have limited utility. I haven't interviewed any of the candidates and don't intend to.
Disclosure/Note: I am extensively involved in Lydia Kou's campaign, and thus will exclude her from my discussion here (but not from your comments). This will also constrain my observations about the other candidates.


Tom DuBois, Eric Filseth and Karen Holman (i): No surprises. Their kick-off events and other public interactions were what one could easily predict from their websites, their literature, and news articles. They each focused on issues and priorities. One could view this as either reassuring (consistency) or disappointing (not making more of such an event).

Greg Scharff (i): His kick-off was very disciplined and tightly focused on experience.(foot#1) Scharff's biggest weakness coming into this campaign is that he is widely seen as a divider. As mayor, he was highly partisan in making appointments to committees, freezing out the minority on the Council. Similarly after the referendum on the Maybell project qualified for the ballot, Scharff hosted a "mediation" session, that was reportedly anything but. Organizers of the referendum who went in concerned, but hopeful for a resolution short of an election, came out angry and talking about feeling bullied. I expected Scharff to at least indirectly acknowledge the problem and somehow say that if reelected he would try to do better. Instead his featured advertisement is Joe Simitian saying "Greg Scharff has the leadership and experience to pull people together, find common ground and move Palo Alto forward, ?"

The other surprise in Scharff's kick-off speech was that in the section about his achievements: He talked about the city's economic recovery since he was elected in 2009. Although it is common for politicians to try to take credit for improvements that were part of the larger economy (the recovery from The Great Recession (Wikipedia)), it is also a huge red flag.

Nancy Shepherd (i): This was the most surprising kick-off. The keynote speaker focused almost entirely on Shepherd's activities in school district matters before she was elected to Council. In her own speech, Shepherd referenced as an achievement work she had done for Adolescent Counseling Services and dated it as being in 2000. For an incumbent, you listen hard for what they regard as their accomplishments, both as an indicator of how they see themselves and what they are likely to do. That was very, very sparse. The wrap-up speech by Assemblyman Rich Gordon I would classify as damning with faint praise, saying that she had "listened well" and "worked hard". Was this because Gordon was unprepared, or that was the best he could do? Similarly, the keynote speaker said that one of the top reasons for re-electing Shepherd was her ability to "put smart people in the same room."

At the Midtown Ice Cream Social (Sunday 9/14), Council candidates were invited to scoop ice cream for 30 minutes, allowing residents to learn their faces and talk to them after their shifts. Shortly after beginning her shift, Shepherd left the table to talk to someone. Fortunately a teenager who was staffing a nearby table (YCS?) noticed that the line was building up and jumped in to help (I didn't think to get her name). Candidate Mark Weiss similarly wandered away from his shift to talk to someone.

A. C. Johnston: He entered the race at the last-minute and acknowledged he knew little of the issues (news article). Consequently, there are two humongous questions about his candidacy: (1) Why did he decide to run, and (2) How does he plan to get up-to-speed. I first encountered him roughly a week later, on 8/23 at Cory Wolbach's kick-off event. His response to those questions were: (1) his neighbor Council member Liz Kniss encouraged him to run and that civic service was a tradition in his family, and (2) Liz Kniss was his source of information about city issues. At his kick-off on 9/12, I asked him again about his sources of information to see how he was broadening it. His answer was: Liz Kniss, Larry Klein (outgoing Council member), Peter Drekmeier (former Council member), Walt Hays (a leader of one faction of sustainability advocates), Steve Levy (pro-growth advocate), and Penny Ellson (Safe Routes to Schools). It then occurred to him "Maybe I should talk to you?" He had been seeing me and others like me for roughly 3 weeks at event after event, without even walking up to me (or the others I asked) for even mere pleasantries.

For someone getting up-to-speed, one of the things you look for is "Does he know what he doesn't know?" I asked Johnston a very broad question to allow him to pick something he was prepared to talk about: "What is your approach to housing?" His response was that he thought the Maybell project (2013 Measure D) was a good one. I asked him about a few of the major problems that the opponents had with the project, and each of his responses clearly demonstrated that he was not even aware of those concerns. I then asked him what he thought was good about the project?his response was that it was a large parcel of available land (nothing more than that). And when I asked why, if large parcels are land were so important for providing affordable housing, was it good policy to have been selling off more than half to that parcel for upzoned market-rate housing. No answer.

Although I will ask questions at these events when no one else is, I prefer to lurk as others talk with the candidate about their issues. Although Johnston listened politely to people, he rarely asked good questions of them, presumably because he didn't understand enough about what was being said. In several instances, I engaged people after they walked away from him and easily got a torrent of additional information.

I haven't seen him demonstrate the political skills to connect to people. In his kick-off speech, he said that he "got traffic" because he "drove Alma and Page Mill" and that he "got parking" because he went to California Avenue. He said that what he loved about Palo Alto was that he could easily walk to "downtown". Much of Palo Alto's political establishment lives in such a bubble that they seem unable to remember that much of Palo Alto isn't like their immediate neighborhood.

But let's get back to his reason for running. While it is commendable to do one's duty, to honor obligations, and to pay-it-back, that doesn't mean you will be a good Council member. I much prefer someone who is passionate about fixing problems. I can't tell if this applies to Johnston, but over the years, we have had too many Council members where it seemed what was more important to them was what went with being in office, rather than being able to accomplish something important.

Cory Wolbach: When Wolbach announced his candidacy, I was hopeful that his experience as a staffer in State Senator Jerry Hill's office would provide him with insight and access on the many problems imposed on Palo Alto by the State Legislature. I asked, but he said that that was not the area he was working in.

In his kick-off speech, restoring civility was a top priority. He mentioned how Measure D (Maybell project) had split the community and that he had friends who were on different sides who still weren't speaking. I asked what I thought would be a softball question: What had gone wrong? He had no explanation. I told him that I was familiar with the events from the earliest days, and gave him a thumbnail account of both sides, but it seemed new to him. While I could understand him not following up on the day of his kick-off (exhaustion), he didn't ask when we met at subsequent events. I eventually initiated a discussion, but he didn't seem to have done anything to learned the circumstances, which is essential to understanding the dynamics, which in turn is essential to understand how not to have a repeat.

As with A. C. Johnston, I haven't heard him engage in the discussion of an issue of his choice that got to the level of sophistication that I would expect of a candidate at this stage in the campaign.


Although the candidates themselves aren't running as slates (to the best of my knowledge), if you look at their supporters, positions and approaches, there are two very clear groupings. For one, the obvious label is "The Establishment", and it is being used by their opponents and even some of them. The label Residentialists was used by the newspapers and others to describe the other group during the early stages of the campaign, and is descriptive. However, it may not last because the Establishment candidates are trying to coopt that term. I have heard a few members of the Establishment refer to the other group as "The Insurgents", but I haven't heard any of the candidates in that group use that label. I kind of like the term because it is both descriptive of those candidates and evocative of the failings of the Establishment that led to those candidacies.

If you were to show me a photo of a significant fraction of the audience at a kick-off event, I am confident that I could tell you whether it was for an Establishment or Residentialist/Insurgent candidate. The differences are that striking. I was at the back of the room at Johnston's kick-off and someone walked in and said "Whoa. This is the Establishment."

The Establishment candidates are Johnston, Scharff (i) and Shepherd (i). The Residentialist/Insurgent candidates are DuBois, Filseth, Holman (i) and Kou. I am unsure about Wolbach. As a staffer for a politician, Wolbach has strong social and professional ties to the Establishment. And much of his support seems to be coming from the Young Democrats organization (again Establishment). Although he says that he doesn't want to be part of either group, I haven't seen him do anything yet that would give me any confidence that he wouldn't vote with the Establishment.

APPENDIX: Campaign Websites
?Tom DuBois
?Eric Filseth
?John Fredrich
?Karen Holman
?A. C. Johnston
?Lydia Kou
?Seelan Reddy
?Greg Scharff
?Nancy Shepherd
?Cory Wolbach
?Mark Weiss (part of his personal blogging site)

Unaware of website for Wayne Douglass.

---- Footnotes ----
1. This level of discipline and focus is worthy of note because one so rarely encounters it in Palo Alto politics. You have some candidates who put no thought into their introductions, other than wanting prominent names. Other candidates try to coordinate their speakers, only to be thwarted when the speaker takes the microphone, for example, when the speech approved by the candidate is 2 minutes, but the speaker then takes 10-15 minutes talking about what he wants to talk about. Campaigns tend to be tight-lipped about what happened, but sometimes you know it is the latter just by looking at the campaign manager (who is staring daggers at the runaway speaker). A common comment among organizers is that trying to get these celebrity speakers on-message and on-time is like "trying to herd feral kittens".
Aside: This is problem for politicians at all levels. For example, the 2012 National Republican Convention where one saw Clint Eastwood engage in a delusional rant with an empty chair and Chris Christie given a keynote address that instead of supporting the Mitt Romney (the nominee) was broadly characterized as him promoting himself for 2016.

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.

I am particular strict about misrepresenting what others have said (me or other commenters). If I judge your comment as likely to provoke a response of "That is not what was said", don't be surprised to have it deleted. My primary goal is to avoid unnecessary and undesirable back-and-forth, but such misrepresentations also indicate that the author is unwilling/unable to participate in a meaningful, respectful conversation on the topic.
Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by politico, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Sep 19, 2014 at 12:43 am

I've seen the term "New Majority" used for the residentialist candidates. Given national/international politics, "insurgents" may have been an "establishment" attempt to create a negative label.

"Establishment" kind of indicates a long-running tradition, but that's not really what they are, either, since all this ugly urbanism is actually pretty radical and new...

How about "New Majority" for the residentialists and "High-density urbanists" for the old guard?

Posted by Any candidates with data??, a resident of Midtown,
on Sep 19, 2014 at 4:58 am

Thanks Doug for your refreshing insights about the candidates for City Council. I am also noticing that Shep. is constantly saying how complicated ABAG is and not able to go into details. No thoughtful comments about what the City Council has learned from their defeat on Measure D. I don't think she would vote any differently today on Measure D than she did 2 years ago. Seems like a lot of generalities, but no specifics about changes to deal with all the overdevelopment that has taken place in the last few years. She does not seem to be running on her record. If she supports all the development she has voted for, why doesn't she just say so. I also think Shepherd,Scharff and Holman should apologize in every voter forum about what happened with the Arrillaga fiasco.
Everyone seems to be talking about "quality of life"........as the traffic, pollution, obstructed views, parking issues , overcrowded schools which seem to be getting worse daily. Where is the data to show how much development has increased in the last 5 years? Haven't we hit our cap in downtown? Where is the data about loss of retail? Are the statistics even available? or is it too difficult to actually use data to explain why, how much and where all the development is needed? Not getting much info. from the candidates ..........

Posted by common sense, a resident of Midtown,
on Sep 19, 2014 at 6:39 am

Doug - you pretty much nailed it, on each of the candidates; however, I would put Wolbach in with the establishment crowd; he's just more clever at hiding his true positions, hoping not to offend anyone. Scharf is running away from his voting record, versus owning it; anything he says at this point is unbelievable based on his past record. Shepard would rather talk about anything else than how she voted, rather than owning her record.

With Kou, Filseth & Dubois I get a sense of genuineness, and people who are true believers on their positions.

Posted by Citizen, a resident of Charleston Gardens,
on Sep 19, 2014 at 11:11 am

The ads are obvious pointers to how candidates see their weakness. Scharff has Simitian talking about how collaborative he is, Shepard has him talking about how smart she is. Both are worried about voters perceiving them as the opposite. Nancy has the bigger problem. It's hard to credibly promise to get smarter.

Posted by Douglas Moran, a resident of Barron Park,
on Sep 19, 2014 at 11:30 am

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

@"Any Candidate with Data" on comment about Shepherd "If she supports all the development she has voted for, why doesn't she just say so."

In her kick-off speech, Shepherd said that the density increase comes from the 1998 Comprehensive Plan (the current one) and doesn't require Council approval.

Posted by Campaign Blog?, a resident of University South,
on Sep 19, 2014 at 9:48 pm

[[Removed by blogger:
1. fake quotes
2. ad hominem attacks
3. substantial portions off-topic
4. claims of bias based on cherry-picking
5. false claims of what I had said
6. false "fact"

Posted by resident, a resident of Green Acres,
on Sep 19, 2014 at 10:53 pm

I appreciate your comments as I don't have the time to attend these events. Your evaluations are well supported. I wish you would comment on Lydia's event, or maybe you can have a less involved party comment?

My comment is that Palo Altans are a difficult group to please. I value a candiate who has worked directly with both residents and city officials. I am definitely interested in "new' council members. I know Lydia has great deal of experience working with many Palo Alto organizations and a diverse socio-economic population. Cory seems interesting, but I think he is just too inexperienced in Palo Alto issues. Seems Cory will try to please the "big politicians" and not understand residents' concerns. Coryt seems too connected to professional politicians, that could be great. But it worries me.

Posted by Former Gunn Parent, a resident of South of Midtown,
on Sep 21, 2014 at 2:35 am

I notice you didn't mention John Fredrich. I'm curious about him because at least one of my kids had him as a teacher at Gunn.

Do you have any impressions to report?

[[Blogger: I don't have anything to report on him. In the previous elections, he didn't put in enough effort to be considered a serious candidate, and I don't see anything different this time.

Part of what a campaign reveals is the support network that a candidate has, and can further develop. Part of this is for help in doing basic Council duties (eg leg work). But part is for when a smear happens, both psych support for the Council member and to hit-back. A Council member without this capability is dead-meat.

There is no indication that Fredrich has any of this.

Posted by Mark Weiss, a resident of Barron Park,
on Sep 21, 2014 at 10:19 am

This is like a cross between "King of Comedy" and "My Year of Meats"

Web Link

Doug it is not that you haven't seen enough of me, over five years (!) but that you pathologically will not say anything fair, relevant or intelligent about me or my work. Which is your right, certainly as a citizen, but I think journalists, or columnists or even bloggers should probably have a higher standard. Or if you are leadership either in your neighborhood, or PAN.

What exactly is your problem? I'm calling you out.

Or why don't you go full-Stalin and simply delete all reference to my campaign, pretend I am not on the ballot.
And by the way I know Wayne Douglass and he is significantly smarter and a better person than you.

[[From the blogger: Much of Mark Weiss antagonism toward me dates to the 2009 election where I published an assessment of the candidates that questioned whether he could be effective because of limited access to email and inability to work within MS-Word. Full document: Web Link

Posted by History Buff, a resident of another community,
on Sep 21, 2014 at 10:51 am

In his comment above, Mark Weiss has said all that needs to be said about Mark Weiss as a candidate.

Posted by History Buff, a resident of another community,
on Sep 21, 2014 at 10:56 am

One way to learn more about the candidates is to go to the PAN website at Web Link

PAN prepared a questionnaire with 4 questions regarding development, quality of life, confidence in government and finances.

You can click on each candidate?s name to see his/her responses.

Posted by Campaign Blog?, a resident of University South,
on Sep 21, 2014 at 11:08 am

Holy heavy-handed censorship! This is my first time to your blog - I didn't realize you delete entire posts if you don't agree with parts of them. Rather than totally delete someone?s post and then replace it with your short justifications for doing so, wouldn't it make more sense to leave my post up, and then make comments refuting what I write?

[[Blogger: the Guidelines (Web Link state that I make small fixes, but delete when the post is substantial wrong. It is the responsibility of the commenter to get it largely right.

The only quote I included was that you yourself said that you're "extensively involved in Lydia Kou's campaign." Doug, that's not fake.

[[Blogger: false. There were multiple quotes within the comment. Those included the fake ones.

Please look at your own column - you say that at the top under the Disclosure/Note. I just repeated what you yourself wrote - how is that fake? [[Blogger: because that wasn't the quotes that you faked]]

I'm afraid to spend too much time on this, only to have you delete the entire thing because you don't agree with it. So rather than make statements, I'm going to ask some questions:

1. Did Lydia Kou, Karen Holman, Eric Filseth and Tom DuBois have a campaign event together on California Avenue last weekend?

[[Blogger: False. There was an event on CalAve, but it wasn't *theirs*. Activists associated with CalAve issues organized the event and invited candidates -- I believe that it was just this subset. There are many such events during a campaign. Some invite all the candidates, for example the LWV and PAN forums, and others such as meet-and-greets (aka coffees, wine-and-cheese,...) where one or a subset of candidates are invited. When a subset of the candidates are invited, it may be because of the sponsor's position on issues or other factors (such as "these are the candidates I know"). One will often see events where it is clear that positions on the issues were *not* the basis for which candidates were invited.

2. Did Lydia Kou and Eric Filseth have a campaign event together yesterday (Saturday) in Barron Park?

[[Blogger: This blog entry focused on what was *surprising*. The "campaign event" was a meet-and-greet and it has been very common in past campaigns for hosts/sponsors of such events to invite more than one candidate. So that isn't surprising. Filseth and Kou have similar views on issues. So it isn't surprising that a host/sponsor would pick them together.

3. Did Lydia Kou, Eric Fileth, Tom DuBois and Karen Holman have a campaign event today in Evergreen Park?

[[Blogger: pushing more of the same misconceptions. To my knowledge, this was a coffee where the host chose who to invite.

4. Did Tom DuBois and Eric Filseth campaign together at the downtown Farmers Market a few weeks ago, with a joint table set up?

[[Blogger: campaign coordination often occurs because the some people are handling the same role in multiple campaigns. This sort of coordination -- sharing a table rather than each campaign toting in its own -- has been routine in past elections and hence unsurprising.

5. Given the above, doesn't it give the impression that Kou, Filseth, DuBois and Holman are running very closely aligned to each other?

[[Blogger: These candidates all advertised their positions on their websites (which I referenced in the blog) and anyone reading them can see substantial areas of similarity and some differences.
So "Campaign Blog?" is upset that I am not revealing readily available public information that I explicitly said that I would be including in the blog posting? Perhaps I should have revealed that the sun rises in the east?

6. Does your column skip over DuBois, Holman and Filseth as no surprises and then go on to make critical comments of the other credible candidates - Greg Scharff, Nancy Shepherd, Cory Wolbach and AC Johnston?

[[Blogger: Campaign kick-offs are expected to be well-planned, tightly-controlled events. The typical one is unsurprising, if not boring (one attended for the ability to informally talk to people, see Web Link A competent candidate and campaign team with either have no-surprises or a few positive surprises.
So a candidate who is unable to talk about what he has prominently advertised as one of his top priorities is a notable surprise.
Incumbents Holman and Scharff made good presentations for their accomplishments. That Shepherd didn't was surprising. Aside: Someone who opposes Scharff and attended his kick-off (for competitive intelligence) remarked to me that if he would enthusiastically vote for Scharff if that event had been his only info.

7. Given your involvement in Kou's campaign, and Kou's numerous campaign events with Filseth, Holman and DuBois, don't you think it looks a bit fishy that your column is only critical of the other four credible candidates - Greg Scharff, Nancy Shepherd, Cory Wolbach and AC Johnston?

[[Blogger: This seems to be the argument "You don't agree with me, therefore you are biased."
The absence of reporting of surprising/unexpected aspects of those candidates is assumed to be me suppressing that, rather than me not spotting any such. So far, nobody has pointed out any such (and I invited people to add such as comments here).
I restricted my coverage to what an experienced campaign observer would consider, and that wouldn't require me to be highly subjective. Again, nobody has made a factual challenge to this.

Please don't blanket delete this. These are very legitimate questions.

[[Blogger: No they weren't. You wanted to characterize what was routine as being surprising/noteworthy items being suppressed.
In your initial (deleted) post, you accused me of bias for not including something that you wanted to believe but that was false. And you made multiple unsupported accusations against the publisher of Palo Alto Online.

Posted by Jo Ann, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Sep 21, 2014 at 12:14 pm

History Buff,

Thank you very much for the link to the candidates' positions at Web Link It's very valuable and informative.

Posted by Resident, a resident of University South,
on Sep 21, 2014 at 4:36 pm

[[Blogger to Readers: The following is apparent "astroturf" -- the political term for something pretending to be "grassroots" ("Astroturf" was the original/early artificial grass).
Please treat the comment appropriately.
Notice that both this commenter and "Campaign Blog?" demonstrate considerable knowledge of campaigning and have put in the effort to research the candidates' calendars of events, but portray themselves as unaware or surprised in ways that are inconsistent and implausible.
I am leaving this comment here because I think it is informative about the campaign.

Wow, that sure does seem like a lot of coordination between Holman, Filseth, DuBois and Kou. I've been following campaigns in Palo Alto for some time now, and I can't recall a time when I've seen that level of coordination. And it's only September. I've seen candidates hold coffees with other candidates (for example, I heard Cory Wolbach had a coffee with Karen Holman), but normally there's much more mixing among the candidates. This seems to me like it's getting close to coordination.

I also saw Filseth and DuBois campaigning together at the downtown farmers market. It wasn't their campaign volunteers - as Doug Moran seems to allude to in his response to that question - it was actually Filseth and DuBois themselves. It sure gave the impression they were running together.

[[Blogger: I didn't "allude" to it being the volunteers at the Farmers Market. The coordination that "Campaign Blog?" referred to was the common table for handouts. It is routine for multiple candidates to appear at the Farmers Market and for them to bunch up regardless of positions on issues, although similar candidates are naturally more likely to be closer together.
This misrepresentation is warning of the dishonesty and sleazy behavior that is already gathering momentum.

Campaign Blog? - thanks for mentioning all of these events that the same group of candidates are doing, either all four of them or subsets. I didn't realize they were so closely aligned.

Thanks also for pointing out that Doug Moran is really involved in Kou's campaign - I must have skipped over the disclosure Moran made at the top of his column (and kudos to Moran for disclosing his involvement in Kou's campaign).

I don't know how other people will react, but it's helpful to know about that as I read these blog posts.

Posted by Douglas Moran, a resident of Barron Park,
on Sep 21, 2014 at 5:19 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

"Campaign Blog?" and "Resident" both make a big deal of certain candidates showing up at the Farmers Market. In past campaigns, this has been a prime location for candidates to meet residents face-to-face.

Rather than being exercised about those candidates showing up there, the question I would be asking is why haven't the other candidates been spotted there? Or have they been there, and these two commenters just don't find that to be so troubling? Either way, what should we infer?

Posted by Marie, a resident of Midtown,
on Sep 22, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Marie is a registered user.

Thanks for your blog. I really appreciate your assessments of the candidates. You bring thoughtful commentary and rational positions to many controversies.

What I can't understand is what Resident is upset about. Filseth, DuBois and Kou have similar positions and what is wrong with that? Their support of Measure D has ensured I will vote for them. I also think the only chance Palo Alto has to get the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park to be redeveloped as a mixed use housing development, which might allow the current residents to stay, is if Filseth, DuBois and Kou are elected. I support true moderate and low income housing, not the sham proposal by the PAHC on Maybell.

At the moment, I plan to play ballot bingo and vote for Filseth DuBosi and Kou for City Council and Ken Dauber for School Board. I think there are other worthy candidates, esp. Karen Holman, but she has a pretty good chance as an incumbent. By not voting for other candidates, I increase the chances of my favorites being elected, which is always an uphill struggle against incumbents.

I did email Cory Wolbach in response to an invitation to one of his events. He responded with a very well thought out reply with, imho, very positive positions. His list of endorsements is particularly impressive. However, his web page is still pretty vague and he still has not included any list of his work or volunteer experience after college on his website. Most recently he has been the legislative assistant of Jerry Hill until he resigned to run for city council. I would think his experience with the CA legislature would be something he would want to emphasize as being valuable to the council. However, he has had almost no experience, as far as I can tell from his website, of involvement in civic life in Palo Alto. If he has been involved in any committees or even attended many council meetings, he has not said so. I think this is his first step into politics. I just don't think knowing a lot about politics and having the support of political parties is enough to qualify you for a nonpartisan office like city council. If he is not elected, I hope he will become more involved in civic life and run again as I think he has a lot of potential.

Posted by John Fredrich, a resident of Barron Park,
on Sep 22, 2014 at 9:29 pm

Dear Doug,

You seem seriously under-informed about the Fredrich Campaign, for a neighbor; but then, Matadero is a couple of blocks away from La Para. I appreciate the comment about how people on opposite sides of the Measure D issue last year are still not communicating with one another. As a supporter of the senior housing I am waiting for more input from those that opposed it while maintaining that they were not against senior housing. What is their plan ?

When I spoke with you at the the Hoover Park ice cream social you did not seem to have any questions.
Maybe you need to begin engaging the candidates face-to-face rather than making snarky comments from the wings. I would like to hear your approach to the current Measure D. I am against reducing the Council's size and feel that a multiplicity of voices enriches democracy. It's one of the reasons I enjoy your posts.

This is my 5th Council election. My website is votes4fredrich.com. This is not a stealth campaign.
Hope to talk with you soon...

Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Sep 23, 2014 at 1:18 pm

Having looked at the Fredrich web-site, it's hard to find any substance at all there. Mr. Fredrich mentions a few of the issue of the day, but provides no insight into what he thinks about these issues, in terms of meaningful commment.

If Blogger Moran didn't ask this candidate many questions when they last crossed paths, it certainly is because Mr. Fredrich's web-site leaves one with little sense that Mr. Fredrich is a serious candidate for City Council.

Posted by Marie, a resident of Midtown,
on Sep 25, 2014 at 8:16 pm

Marie is a registered user.

John Fredrich: I am a senior citizen who opposed the so called senior housing on Maybell. As a senior citizen, I could not imagine paying $1,200 to move to a 600 square foot apartment with no parking place, and no services where the only available store in walking distance was Walgreens. I could see not justification for this project other than squeezing in the market rate individual units would pay for the land for the poorly designed project.

What I would like to see is for the city to use the money in its affordable housing fund to buy Buena Vista and gradually add mixed use low and moderate income housing, giving preference to the existing residents, and buying them out as alternative housing became available. The money should be used to subsidize the development. It is unrealistic to expect reasonable moderate income housing projects to pay for themselves.

We have several examples of successful projects. Let's learn from that. The apartments on Park at the corner of California are pleasant and cheerful and as far as I can tell, not under parked.

I don't know how well the new project on Alma street will meet the needs of the residents. It looks awful from the outside but I'm hopeful that the inside is nicer. I would also like to know if there is sufficient parking and how many of the residents use public transit. If it works, it should be replicated, only with a better architect. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the city already owned that land.

I wish the city had not given up its option to buy land on Park during the last downturn. They had hoped to put a new public safety building there. However, it could have also been used for low and moderate income housing. I doubt they will ever see that price again.

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Burning just one "old style" light bulb can cost $150 or more per year
By Sherry Listgarten | 10 comments | 2,492 views

Fun Things to Do Around the Bay This Holiday – Peninsula Edition
By Laura Stec | 8 comments | 2,343 views

Banning the public from PA City Hall
By Diana Diamond | 23 comments | 1,844 views

Premiere! “I Do I Don’t: How to build a better marriage” – Here, a page/weekday
By Chandrama Anderson | 2 comments | 961 views


Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund

For the last 30 years, the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund has given away almost $10 million to local nonprofits serving children and families. 100% of the funds go directly to local programs. It’s a great way to ensure your charitable donations are working at home.