Mayor seeks 'Environmental Commission' delay

Yoriko Kishimoto angers colleagues by attempt to let new council decide longstanding proposal

In a move that aroused the ire of her City Council colleagues, Mayor Yoriko Kishimoto attempted to postpone a vote on a proposed Environmental Commission until January -- when the council will have four new members.

Councilman Peter Drekmeier supported her unsuccessful motion to delay the vote.

"I know it will be brought back in January in any case. This just streamlines the process," Kishimoto said. She said she didn't know what the vote would have been Monday.

"I think that's completely inappropriate," Councilman John Barton objected.

It sets an "extremely poor precedent." Councilwoman Judy Kleinberg agreed, calling it "a violation of a compact with those of us who have spent a lot of time considering it to say, 'Well, we don't like the way you came out on it.'"

Councilwoman LaDoris Cordell said she was "saddened" by the postponement attempt.

"It doesn't feel good to be a lame duck. For me, it's like putting it in your face," she said.

But Drekmeier said the need for an environmental group is great.

"We need a mechanism to engage a very talented pool of public participants. We have a lot of work to do," Drekmeier said.

In October, the council's Policy and Services Committee rejected plans to create an Environmental Commission because it overlaps with other commissions, it would add expense and the city has trouble attracting volunteers for existing commissions, among other reasons.

City staff had recommended the group be structured as a committee rather than a commission to avoid public-noticing requirements and allow for more flexibility.

Kishimoto, Drekmeier and Vice Mayor Larry Klein originally proposed creating an Environmental Commission last April.

Councilman Bern Beecham left the meeting early due to illness, leaving the council without the five votes necessary to reject the measure.

Council members voted to continue the discussion until Dec. 10.

In other business:

• The council also lacked the five votes necessary to pass a green building policy for city buildings. It was continued until Dec. 10.

• Palo Alto Green, the city's voluntary green-electricity program, surpassed its goal of reaching 20 percent of utility customers by the end of 2007, Program Manager Brian Ward told the City Council.

Now, 20.2 percent of the city's approximately 30,000 electricity customers spend about $10 extra a month to support wind and solar power, Ward said.

Nationally, most green-power programs have less than 5 percent participation, he said.

The city hopes to enroll 25 percent of its customers by the end of 2008, Ward said.

• The council voted to defer its discussion on the future of Byxbee Park and the landfill until Dec. 10.


Like this comment
Posted by Not so fast
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 4, 2007 at 8:54 am

A cynical attempt by our mayor to get her way, one way or another. Obviously she does not have to vote to push through another one of her pet projects, an environmental commission (like we need another commission anyway), so her and her climate change pipe dream pal, Drekmeier try to delay a vote until new council members are seated.
One can only hope that this new batch of council members will be willing, ready and able to deal with the important issues facing our city and not waste time and resources on vanity projects supported by dinousaur council members like Yoirko, who only care for their own self-serving interests.

Like this comment
Posted by J Muir
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 4, 2007 at 9:44 am

Let's see how our distinguished Mayor comes out on issues like rectifying the jobs/housing imbalance - to relieve carbon load to the environment - or the issue of requiring Stanford to do something in within its enterprise that she steadfastly refuses to support at home.

We're going to find out, very soon, just how "green" some of our policy makers are.

Like this comment
Posted by Not so fast
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 4, 2007 at 10:00 am

Our "too much traffic" mayor is not interested in rectifying the jobs/housing imbalance. First of all she is against new housing (unless Stanford builds it on their own property) --she feels that it will create too much traffic. Second of all, dealing with the jobs/housing imbalance will be messy and will, therefore, a) cause conflict--which yoriko wants to avoid at all costs and b) distract from her goal of working only on climate change issues--nothing like jetting off to London and riding in private taxis while pushing "green" issues at home.

Like this comment
Posted by a long time resident
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Dec 4, 2007 at 5:49 pm

Can someone fill me and others on what this commission was to do?

Or hasn't that been defined or what exactly their object was; Specific actions. ??

To many commissions or committes are formed and appear to be set up to benifit certain groups and everything is predetermined and they just go thru the motions:

i.e. Fiber to the home, :provided free fiber at a cost of possibly $1,000,000 to the taxpayers for the benifit of about 70 people. No plans were made ahead of time of how to expand this throughout the city and when the tial was over it was money down the drain.

i.e. I'm sure there was a commission or group formed to study undergrounding power lines throuout the city. It appears "DEAD" now that the people proposing got undergroudning in their neighborhoods. And at a cost of many millions of $$ to the ratepayers who don't have undergrounded power.

i.e. The new police station location. This was probably predetermined as only one other location was looked into and it was known that that area didn't want a parking lot converted into a police station. It is my opionion that some deal was worked out with the present owner of the proposed location to buy his property for over $10,000,000 for a parcel in a isolated, next to train tracks, inaccessable to E. of Alma part of the city in certain circumstances.
Where is there proof that this is what land is selling for in that area? Did the council zone it for a use that would double or triple the value of the land.?? Who actually own's the parcel (aprox 1.25 acres)?

I'm sure there are other examples

Like this comment
Posted by Not so fast
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 5, 2007 at 7:57 am

Here is the article from the PA Daily about this:

Web Link

From that article:

"I wear my agenda on my sleeve," added Kishimoto, an ardent environmentalist. "

Finally, honesty and truth from Yoriko after all these years. Maybe she should resign from the council since she does not appear to care about anything else (of course, she should have mentioned that whining about too much traffic is also her agenda) and try to get appointed as Environmental Commissioner.

Who knows what our new mayor's (I assume it will be Larry Klein) thing for next year will be, but I think that anyone will be an improvement over Yoriko.

Like this comment
Posted by Poor NSF
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 5, 2007 at 10:41 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Like this comment
Posted by Not so fast
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 5, 2007 at 10:55 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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