News

Palo Alto voters choose even-year city elections

Saving money, increasing voter participation cited as reasons for shift

Palo Alto's century-old tradition of holding city elections on odd years came to an end Tuesday when voters approved Measure S, which shifts elections to even years.

The measure, which was proposed by Santa Clara Supervisor Liz Kniss, won in a landslide Tuesday, with 77 percent of the voters supporting it, early results reported late Tuesday night indicate.

Measure S would bring the city into line with national, state and county elections and reduce costs by an estimated $1 million over the next decade, Kniss estimated.

Kniss and other proponents of Measure S argued that the proposal would both save money and increase voter participation. They pointed to the fact that the last four even-year election had an average turnout of 71.25 percent, compared to 43.2 percent for odd-year elections.

Councilman Greg Schmid and former Mayor Gary Fazzino both opposed Measure S, arguing that it would force local issues to compete with national and state elections for the voters' attention. But Measure S generally stayed under the radar in the months leading up to the election and did not generate any broad opposition.

"It boiled down to a simple decision," Mayor Pat Burt said. "Not too many people had strong passions about this measure."

Councilman Greg Scharff, who proposed placing Measure S on the ballot, told the Weekly he wasn't surprised by the measure's easy passage.

"We're increasing voter participation and saving money," Scharff said. "It seemed like a no-brainer."

By switching elections to even years, the measure also extends the terms of each council member by a year. Burt, Vice Mayor Sid Espnosa and councilmen Yiaway Yeh and Schmid would have seen their terms expire next year. Now, they will serve at least until 2012.

Schmid spoke out against the shift, saying that city-level issues and candidates would be overshadowed by the larger elections and there would be less media attention paid to them if they were combined.

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by PAUSD Dad
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 3, 2010 at 12:24 pm

It's going to be harder to pass parcel taxes for the schools...


Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 3, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

I question the legality of automatically extending terms.


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

Don't be the last to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Rose International Market reopening soon in Mountain View
By Elena Kadvany | 11 comments | 5,338 views

Eyes and the End of Life: Why Spend Time With the Dying?
By Aldis Petriceks | 2 comments | 1,884 views

The HSR Decision
By Steve Levy | 8 comments | 1,185 views

We need a new garage downtown Palo Alto -- forget about being politically correct
By Diana Diamond | 6 comments | 1,046 views

Know Before You Buy: Understanding Senior Living Facility Agreements
By Max Greenberg | 0 comments | 499 views

 

Short story writers wanted!

The 33rd Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult (15-17) and Teen (12-14) categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 29. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.

Contest Details