News

Report urges forming infrastructure commission

Permanent commission would oversee maintenance, give recommendations about future needs

Palo Alto should overhaul its system for managing infrastructure and appoint a new citizens commission to oversee the complex and critical process, a specially appointed panel is recommending in a new report.

The Infrastructure Blue Ribbon Commission, which was appointed last year to tally the city's infrastructure backlog, released a report last week that recommends a broad range of initiatives, including appointing a public commission as a way to make sure the city keeps up with its capital needs. Though much of the report focuses on ways to pay for the city's maintenance costs -- including a higher sales tax, a bond measure and termination of the city's Cubberley Community Center lease with the Palo Alto Unified School District -- the commission also proposes that the city overhaul its existing system for managing infrastructure.

The report is also the first major step toward bringing a bond measure to the city voters next year. In a statement, City Manager James Keene called the report "the beginning of a process that will likely lead to funding measures placed on the November 2012 ballot."

But while funding is a major focus of the report, the commission also recommends a new structure for managing its capital needs. Its proposals include a comprehensive "Infrastructure Management System" to keep track of all ongoing projects and a public commission that would report to the City Council twice a year on infrastructure.

"Palo Alto has traditionally employed citizen commissions to assure ongoing public attention to areas of particular importance," the report states. "Because our infrastructure provides the physical underpinnings for the delivery of all City services, it merits the oversight of a public commission."

The blue-ribbon commission, chaired by Ray Bacchetti and Le Levy, found that the city currently has no comprehensive system for managing infrastructure. The responsibility for maintenance, the report notes, has traditionally been divided among various departments, including Public Works, Community Services and Administrative Services. The report points out that defining a system for infrastructure management "was not part of the Commission's original charge, but we quickly saw it was the foundation on which all else would be built."

"Incomplete and fragmentary data and dispersal of authority have affected the City's ability to assess and prioritize overall needs, to develop strategies for longer-term maintenance and replacement, and to prepare for the future," the report states. "It is imperative that the City Council and City staff be well informed about the overall state of the City's infrastructure and consequences of budgeting actions and delays."

The new database and the new public commission are two proposals in a long list of measures that the report recommends to ensure that the city's streets, parks, sidewalks and facilities are kept in decent shape. The group has also recommended devoting 23 percent of the General Fund every year to capital needs (up from the current level of 19 percent) and have the City Auditor's Office regularly audit the city's infrastructure maintenance.

The report estimates that there are about 1,300 infrastructure projects currently in the works, from street maintenance to upkeep of city facilities. The report also urged the city to pursue a bond to pay for a new police headquarters and to replace two outdated fire stations.

The City Council is scheduled to consider the commission's recommendations on Jan. 17. On Thursday (Dec. 22), after the report was released, City Manager James Keene praised the group's efforts. The commission has held more than 300 meetings since the council appointed it in October 2010.

"City Infrastructure is not typically an enthralling subject, but the streets, parks, buildings and bridges that shape and support our city are indispensable to our quality of life," Keene said in a statement. "The Commission has performed an extensive review of the conditions of our built environment in the city and laid a foundation for the City Council's decisions on how to fund, repair and reinvest in Palo Alto."

Comments

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Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 28, 2011 at 10:31 am

And we're trying to accomplish all of this during very uncertain, difficult financial times. We continue to face budget deficits year after year. Our city leaders have been pointing out these facts for quite some time now. It has led to cuts in public safety and essential infrastructure needs.

The first step in addressing these vital, essential needs, is to stop spending on niche luxury projects. Why is the city even considering projects like the bike bridge, electric vehicle charging stations, and a golf course remodel? Why are they allocating funds for playground construction, park improvement, public art, and supporting programs like the Children's Theater. If a someone is having a hard time balancing their family budget, paying the bills, and making necessary repairs on their home, the last thing they should be doing is going on an elaborate vacation, buying a new car, or spending even a nickel on anything non-essential.

It's time for our city leaders to set some reasonable financial priorities and take care of our basic civic needs. That starts with infrastructure and public safety. We don't need our city leaders to be moaning about the budget deficit and bad economic times in order to justify cuts in public safety and other basic city services, and then turn around and announce some spectacular plan on a non-essential expenditure. Enough already. If the city is in such dire financial straits, and the budget deficit continues to loom (their words not mine), then back that up with some actions that match the rhetoric.


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Posted by Get Real
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Dec 28, 2011 at 11:08 am

We pay taxes for years that goes mostly to support retired employees in their mid-fifties, that collect $100K + a year from Palo Alto (for life!) while double-dipping by working full time in other communities, collecting yet another hefty $100K + salary.

Management in Palo Alto is expensive and abysmal. There needs to be a citizen commission just to oversee department managers.

Most department managers do not like citizen involvement. It makes them feel threatened. With good reason because many citizens know more than our managers do, and citizens also care more than most managers do.

It's not just a few years that infrastructure has been neglected. It's been at least 25 years; now we just cannot continue to ignore it, all the while padding employees (managers) salaries, and asking citizens to get more involved in grunt work - volunteering, serving on commissions, paying higher taxes, to support City Hall's madness.

Furthermore, we don't need more consultants (at a cost of $300,000 per project) to tell us what we should know from common sense.


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Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 28, 2011 at 11:39 am

Until the city council puts in place a process to prioritize spending (infrastructure vs electric charging stations, bike bridges, street beautification projects, below-market rate housing,etc), all the additional committees, commissions, etc will be useless, and I will vote NO on any additional taxes.

The issue isn't the importance of infrastructure, but what the priority should be in the city budget.

Since 2005, when the work on the storm drains and public safety building highlighted the need for infrastructure spending, successive councils have done very little to address this problem.
But look at some examples of spending for the past 6 years:

* Destination Palo Alto ($250,000)
* Color of Palo Alto ($50,000)
* Senior Games sponsor ($250,000)
* Assistant City Manager for Sustainability ($150,000)
* Donation of Alma Street property for BMR housing (worth millions of dollars)
* Loan to BMR Housing of millions of dollars
* Loan to city manager to buy a house (1.6 million dollars)
* Aid to form city city manager to pay property taxes each year
* Renovation of city manager's house
* Increase pension benefits to city staff, costing $7-8 million/year
* $250,000 consultant study on the compost factory
* Electric charging stations around the city - recent news articles show only the wealthy buy electric cars, and the city is subsidizing them with free electricity.
* Renovation of the city council chambers ($500,000)

There are more items which many citizens would classify as being lower priority.

Yet when it comes to cutting expenses, they look at cutting police budgets.

Perhaps the city council will have a better chance of getting the bond/taxes passed if they show what, in a $140 million yearly budget, is of lower priority to infrastructure.


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Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 28, 2011 at 12:35 pm

And how much will they spend on this bike bridge, the golf course remodel, public art repair, and fountains? Here's another annual expenditure for your list Common Sense. The city funds over $100,000 annually to support the Opportunity Center and other homeless projects. Programs that support a majority of people with few if any ties to our community. Absolutely irresponsible spending. I will vote NO on any new taxes. Divert funds from these non-essential projects and invest it into our infrastructure and public safety.


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Posted by Charlie
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 28, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Consultants wrote the reports
Reports recommends to have more consultants onboard
Consultants get all the needed votes for the initiatives
Now guess who runs the city?
It won't happen in the private sector.. and the reason is clear to see


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Posted by Add to common sense list
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 28, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Plan to renovate Rinconada Park
Design consultants for Rinconada
Plan to increase development around California Ave
Plan to increase development around East Meadow
Build a road between the Art Center and Main Library
ADD FOUR Managers to the Development Center
Sculpture for the Michell Park Library about $200,000
Additional cost for Mitchell Park construction $4 million


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 28, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

A committee would serve only to remove choices from the council. I suggest that any councilor incapable of making hard choices on the budget immediately resign to make room for an axe man.
NO CANDY UNTIL YOU BUY THE NECESSITIES!


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Posted by Get Real
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Dec 28, 2011 at 4:08 pm

I do not begrudge City Hall from adding tangible improvements to our fair city, those from which we all benefit. But so often, money is just wasted, and spent as if it grows on trees. "Common Sense" lists what I mean well.

Positions added at the Development Center are needed, in order to service the community better. We know there is a problem there and the new staff will solve it.

We love our libraries, evidenced by the crowds that flock there, so money spent on that is valid, and we must pretty up areas of PA, in order to keep our edge, attracting visitors, new residents & business.

But I object to the millions spent that do not in any way benefit taxpayers that paid into the public funds. But rather, they serve either as perks for an already pampered small group of people, or the money goes out one-way, and does not even serve as an investment in anything tangible for the community - like feeding pet projects for a chosen few, mostly for council members' Wish List. That's where it would be helpful to have citizen Commission to oversee Staff managers.

Let us remember the $300K consultants fee for the California Avenue Streetscape project. That, while the original design was done years ago, and provided to the city for FREE. The whole project, including lane reduction, was to cost less than $350K. Now the consultants fee alone is $300K.

That's just silly. Multiply that one amount by several projects, & voila! It's "Common Senses'" list.


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Posted by bill g
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 28, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Thank you Marrol and Common Sense. Well said.

Don't forget the $5M Homer tunnel used by <1% of the residents and paid for by 100% of them. A multi-million dollar bike bridge would probably wind up with the same percentages.

List infrastructure priorities before another taxpayer funded project is voted into being - then have the citizens comment. Of course everyone will endorse their own pet(s) and no one will agree to everything on any priority list. But that's what the Council was elected to do - make hard choices with resident input.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Dec 28, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Good management begins with good accounting and then fiscal discipline.

If )1 every capital asset is depreciated each year and
2) the amount of that depreciation is placed in a dedicated reserve to repair and replace that specific capital asset and
3) the funds to do so are taken off the top of the city's budget
4) then the city would have to do everything else with what is left over.

This panel was asked the wrong question. Spending time trying to find new money is a poor substitute for making sure that the city spend what money the city already has in the first place.


Like this comment
Posted by Infrastructure-Commission-A-Bad-Idea
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2011 at 8:29 am

The City of Palo Alto currently has no comprehensive capital management program. The City can not even account for the total capital entrusted to its management. Each major department has some accounting responsibility for the capital assigned to it, but there has never been a City-wide approach to keeping tract of these assets.

It is not hard to do a back-of-the-envelope calculation that suggests that the City has between $30B and $35B in physical assets. Most of these assets are tied up in land (at a nominal $5M an acre). The streets, and all of the pipe needed to carry gas, water, and waste water perhaps come to about $5B. The rest is tied up in various buildings, vehicles, and hardware needed to run the Utility and other aspects of the City.

While various “inventories” of infrastructure backlog have been promoted, from time-to-time, no fully comprehensive inventory has ever been assembled. And, it would appear, even with this latest attempt to bring some attention to the Palo Alto’s “infrastructure” problems, we still don’t have a vision that would bring all of the details together in a more-or-less integrated physical asset management system.

The idea of an “infrastructure commission” is not a particularly good idea. The current commission was chosen not for the expertise of the members, but from the belief that they would help to push a “big bond” through the electorate at some point. Thanks to Larry Klein, commissions do not have to declare their potential conflicts-of-interest via FPPC Form 700s, so we have no idea who these people (the current commission) are, and what their interest in “infrastructure” is.

We are left with the question: “what does the City Manager, and his ever-growing circle of assistants (all paid at/above 200K a year do for their money? And what about the almost equally highly paid directors and managers? What do they do for their money?

And as to the question of “oversight”.. this is a joke. The library project has an “oversight” commission. What has it achieved? It was not even mentioned in the articles about the cost overruns which were “in the news” recently. Or the Storm Drain Oversight Commission. Anybody have any idea how they have done anything meaningful?

There is little evidence that the current commission has gotten things right. The call for a big police station, rather than thinking in terms of regionalization, is a really big red flag that means we are all going to have to go through this document with a fine-tooth-comb, and to document every bit of nonsense, or poor vision, and make certain that the City Council understands that their “friends” are not necessarily the best managers of public assets.

This report needs a good airing and probably it should be relegated to the dustbins of history.


Like this comment
Posted by Infrastructure-Commission-A-Bad-Idea
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2011 at 8:53 am

> every capital asset is depreciated each year and

Most of Palo Alto’s capital assets are tied up in land.

> the amount of that depreciation is placed in a dedicated reserve
> to repair and replace that specific capital asset and

Palo Alto has been (for a long time now) run by people demanding “services”--which have been incredibility people-centric to provide, and have ended up wasting hundreds of millions of dollars (possibly a billion or so) over the years.

The main culprits have been the “inner circle’ that has managed to keep control of the Council over the yeatrs. We have a Children’s Zoo, and a Children’s Library and a Children’s Theater, and we have allowed about 200 prime acres of bay front land to be turned over to special interests (non-resident golfers and non-resident pilots), yet we get virtually nothing back in terms of revenues from these operations. The list goes on-and-on.

The money that should have gone into “reserve funds” (called “sinking funds” up until recently) would put an end to the “giveaway” of public funds that has made Palo Alto a “Mecca” for so many Non-profits and “schools”. The Council members have openly been hostile to anyone who openly challenged these use of funds. (A example of this could be seen when various current, and past, Council Members “circled the wagons” and protected the totally incompetent management of the Children’s Theater a couple years ago. This Council would ignore open fraud in the Children’s Theater.)

The San Francisquito Creek is another example of pure incompetence on the part of the City (and its “leaders”). The Creek refurbishment costs have been suggested to be in the $100M range. If all of the various governmental agencies involved in this problem had established “reserve funds” for this project twenty-five years ago, there would be quite a bit of money available to fund this work. However, Palo Alto passed a bond for schools that will cost $750M to pay down, and a library bond that will cost around $100M to pay down. Very little money has been spent for long-term infrastructure planning/funding for the Creek, which overbanks about twice a century, causing tens of millions of dollars damage when it does.

We have yet to see the bill for the next fifty years of operating Palo Alto; however, with the current operating budget in the $150M/year range, this means that we are looking at upwards of $10B in operating costs between now and 2060. It’s very difficult to understand why there is not sufficient money in this revenue stream to fund most of the infrastructure needs, particularly if some of the land assets are sold—like the Golf Course and the Airport.

If this so-called Infrastructure Commission did not look at things on (at least) a fifty year time line, then their work is not sufficient to make meaningful decisions involving the long-term management of the capital assets of the City.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2011 at 8:54 am

Not another commission, panel of experts or a study, please. They take up too much time and end up costing more money that we are trying to not spend.

Just get on with the work that needs to be done, make infrastructure a priority with at least 25% of city funds as a budget and another 10% to be put into a fund for future infrastructure improvements. When that has been done, the rest can be designated for running the city on a day to day basis. If there is any money left at the end of the year, it can be used to buy a fancy icon.


Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 29, 2011 at 10:30 am

To Marrol....and others,

Remodeling the golf course, which was completely redone several years ago, is NOT the city's idea. The Army Corps of Engineers (a/k/a/ the Fed. Government) has planned/ordered - whether we like it or not - to build a drainage canal from San Franciscquito Creek to the Bay right through the course which necessitates the remodeling of the course to make it reasonably playable. The course attracts a wide scope of players, and those who are not PA residents pay more to set a tee in the ground. It is wildly popular with young people and those of any age including 70-80yr, old seniors. IT RETURNS A PROFIT TO THE CITY and has been there for a lonnnng time back to the 50's. It is a Palo Alto asset like its parks, and It is not a financial albatross around the city's neck despite the claims of those who have other agendas for its use. Golf in this climate is a year-round healthy activity. Palo Alto has many tennis courts which are used free by anyone from anyplace,even at night. Not everyone stays every free minute glued to a cell phone or a computer.
Mt. View built its wonderful Shoreline Park and golf course over its city dump. That golf course is a civic prize and should be supported, not criticized. Marrol, go take some lessons, have some fun. You'll have a lot of company out there. Palo Alto is getting so 'negative' about enjoying life.


Like this comment
Posted by Sometimes
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2011 at 10:53 am

Sometimes we get money from grants, the homer street bike tunnel was an example of that. It did not cost the city 5 million. The city got grants to build it. Now the city does fund othe stupid things like 5 library branches that do no evenly support the community. I'd like to see downtown and college terrace closed. Downtown is redundant with main and college terrace serves a very small part of the community and gets little traffic.


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Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 29, 2011 at 11:19 am

We can enjoy life, and have a golf course Bob, which can be accomplished with some reasonable limitations. I am aware that the course design must be changed due to the levee/creek improvements, however, the city must be prudent with the extent of any development to the golf facility itself. Have you seen some of the proposals that have been submitted? Far too extravagant and expensive.

I don't wish to take the fun out of living in Palo Alto, but as citizens, and especially our civic leaders, we must consider the impact of these financial decisions. It's not about eliminating fun, it's about being financially responsible and considering the greater good. For as many people that enjoy golf, it is still a comparatively small number. A much larger percentage of people, especially our youth, participate in soccer. That is why I am in favor of converting the land to a multi-purpose facility that would include both a soccer/athletic field, as well as a scaled down nine hole gold course. Additionally, whatever facility is built, certainly does not require an elaborate club house or other such amenities.

Our city leaders must hear some voices of reason when it comes to public spending. We simply cannot afford to continue spending on niche, luxury projects. The greater good must prevail, and that starts with vital, essential infrastructure needs and public safety. Everyone has to understand that we as a city are operating during highly uncertain and difficult financial times. We continue to face massive budget deficits year after year. It would be terrific to design and build a state of the art golf course, but you know what, we can't afford it. So like the financial decisions we make in our personal lives when the purse strings get tight, we set limits, don't spend extravagantly, we're more prudent, make sacrifices, go for something more practical, and invest only in what is necessary.

In that spirit, I hope that the final result of this project reflects this common sense approach. Let's have a very basic golf course design with only essential facilities. Let's also consider using this redesign opportunity to include soccer/athletic fields that would reach many more participants. A much more prudent and undoubtedly affordable endeavor.


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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 29, 2011 at 11:28 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

The golf course and the airport and the yacht harbor must support themselves. Other activities may be supported by the general fund but only after the infrastructure and necessary city functions are covered.


Like this comment
Posted by Timothy Gray
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Dec 29, 2011 at 11:44 am

Infrastructure and efficient public safety are clearly the needed priorities. Our past actions have not followed a budget process that offer up a prioritized list of City services and expenditures for community participation.

The new oversight commission might just be the Citizen's tool to enforce a financial discipline on the budget process.

The commission could be a tool to make financial discipline visible and enforce an Infrastructure First management culture so that we can stop the nonsense of borrowing from our future. Palo Alto City Government has an addiction and a solid "intervention" is needed!

Whatever Oversight Committee is established must be populated by a broad sector of the community -- yes, that means we must end the historical pattern of appointing a bunch of insiders that simply attempt to justify a predetermined and desired conclusion.

This really is about finding a way to enforce a stewardship of a public trust, and knowing that the only audience that we must answer to is the residents of the year 2020 and beyond. Our loyalty has to be our future, and residents cannot accept anything less.

With 20/20 hindsight, it is clear that the leadership of the past 20 years has Failed. I remain optimistic that we can usher in an era of wiser and principled financial management that really serves our present and future.

Timothy Gray email: Timothygray@sbcglobal.net


Like this comment
Posted by Timothy Gray
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Dec 29, 2011 at 11:44 am

Infrastructure and efficient public safety are clearly the needed priorities. Our past actions have not followed a budget process that offer up a prioritized list of City services and expenditures for community participation.

The new oversight commission might just be the Citizen's tool to enforce a financial discipline on the budget process.

The commission could be a tool to make financial discipline visible and enforce an Infrastructure First management culture so that we can stop the nonsense of borrowing from our future. Palo Alto City Government has an addiction and a solid "intervention" is needed!

Whatever Oversight Committee is established must be populated by a broad sector of the community -- yes, that means we must end the historical pattern of appointing a bunch of insiders that simply attempt to justify a predetermined and desired conclusion.

This really is about finding a way to enforce a stewardship of a public trust, and knowing that the only audience that we must answer to is the residents of the year 2020 and beyond. Our loyalty has to be our future, and residents cannot accept anything less.

With 20/20 hindsight, it is clear that the leadership of the past 20 years has Failed. I remain optimistic that we can usher in an era of wiser and principled financial management that really serves our present and future.

Timothy Gray


Like this comment
Posted by Sometimes
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2011 at 11:44 am

Walter,

We have not had a yacht harbor in decades, but I get your point


Like this comment
Posted by Timothy Gray
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Dec 29, 2011 at 11:57 am

Infrastructure and efficient and effective public safety are the first priorities.

That is simple formula for financial responsibility.

Has that been reflected in the actions taken by our previous leaders? Of course not.

Each budget year the request for a list of City services and their costs has gone unheeded. Of course, that kind of list would force an honesty on the budget and offer a tool for community input.

That's a problem for leaders who mouth the word "Transparency", but follow the interest of the narrow interests that have backed their election.

This is really elementary financial management principles that our leaders choose to ignore. Instead of infrastructure first, year after year our budget process adds up pet projects and then whatever is left over may get applied to infrustructure reserves. Basically our leaders have declared, "Who cares if our roof has a hole in it, the storm is not coming until next year and it will be someone else's problem."

By the way, this need has been voiced by countless citizen observers for years.

It is not too late to reform our City's practices and declare Infrastructure first!

We have been ignoring the most basic of financial management practices. Our great City is no larger or complex than a small corporation. Let's take the glamour out of political office and get some real workers in there to do the work.

Offered with respect.

Tim Gray (former Council Candidate)


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 29, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Timothy Gray - I hope you will be a candidate in the next elections.


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Dec 29, 2011 at 12:52 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"We will have years when budgets and/or plans are derailed - yet the bills have to be paid...so I see no problem with "borrowing"


Properly established reserves should never be a source for paying bills for 'other' things. If the projects to be paid for by those reserves are delayed then the funds should be kept in the reserve until needed - and hopefully earning interest. To allow those funds to be used to pay 'other' bills simply encourages unbudgeted and unfunded expenditures.


Like this comment
Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 30, 2011 at 10:34 am

> “Good management begins with good accounting and then fiscal discipline.”

Peter, I would say that good management begins with priorities. THEN good accounting and fiscal discipline kick in to ensure the priorities are funded first.

> “The commission could be a tool to make financial discipline visible and enforce an Infrastructure First management culture…”

Timothy, as someone has already pointed out, the library oversight commission didn’t notice the huge problems with the Mitchell park cost overrun. Any commission would be staffed with the usual suspects, who drink the Kool-Aid at City Hall. How could we, the people, “end the historical pattern of appointing a bunch of insiders that simply attempt to justify a predetermined and desired conclusion”?

In any case, a good management team doesn’t need a commission – or a highly-paid executive assistant – to keep priorities at top of mind.

> “Palo Alto is getting so 'negative' about enjoying life.”
Bob, just because someone doesn’t enjoy life playing golf, as you do, does not make them negative.

Branding people “negative” or “disgruntled” or “vitriolic” or “a naysayer” is the way the city council and staff dismiss any criticism. It’s an excuse to invalidate anyone who disagrees with them. It’s been going on for a long time and I see no hope of change.

As Timothy points out, the comments on this thread have “voiced by countless citizen observers for years.” Councils come and councils go, but nothing changes.”

Even if you were elected Timothy, you would be one sane vote among 9. Or perhaps you too would drink the Kool-Aid. The culture at City Hall is insidious.


Like this comment
Posted by Get Real
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Dec 30, 2011 at 11:00 am

Pat- your comments are well taken. A question for us to consider:
Must council have 9 members? Why not reduce the size to 5, as an ideal? 5 members with their fingers on the pulse of the community, each keeping the others informed. Or, at the most: 7.

Why 9? Neighboring communities have 5 council members. It works well, when each does the job for which they were elected, fulfilling campaign promises, working towards what each considered"priorities", at the time of their elections & not just for glory and recognition, stroking egos and padding their resumes.

5 Council members, with clear priorities, and each with their finger on the pulse of the community, working well with taxpayers, listening to us & fulfilling campaign promises. It's not that hard. It's being done, outside of Palo Alto.


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

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