Pat Burt, who served as Palo Alto's mayor in 2010 and who has been a central player in the city's opposition to high-speed rail, plans to seek another term on the City Council.
Burt, a former member of the Planning and Transportation Commission, was elected to the nine-member council in 2007 and has been heavily involved in land-use issues. He told the Weekly that he plans to continue to pursue his primary goals in transforming the city government into a leaner and more efficient organization; establishing Palo Alto as an environmental leader; and boosting the city's emergency-preparedness efforts.
Burt represents Palo Alto on the Peninsula Cities Consortium, a coalition of cities working on high-speed rail issues, and serves as board chair of the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority, an agency that aims to improve flood control around the volatile creek in Palo Alto, East Palo Alto and Menlo Park.
Burt called emergency-preparedness a priority that's "not particularly glamorous but extremely important."
Among the most important goals, But said, is creating a "more efficient and innovative city government." This means curbing long-term employee costs, particularly pensions and health care expenses, he said.
"Over the past four years, we've made great progress, but there's more work to do," said Burt, who works as CEO of the medical-device company Vascular Access Technologies.
Burt is one of four council members who will be running for re-election in November. Greg Schmid, an economist who has been one of the city's leading critics of regional housing mandates, also said he will seek another term on the council. Sid Espinosa, who took over for Burt as mayor in 2011, said Thursday that he will not run for a second term. Current Mayor Yiaway Yeh has not announced a decision yet.
The race for council seats will also include former Mayor Liz Kniss, whose last term on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors will expire this year, and Marc Berman, an attorney who last year served on the city's Infrastructure Blue Ribbon Task Force.