News

Palo Alto looks to add members, balance to Comprehensive Plan panel

City Council to appoint five new members to citizens group, with a focus on the south

Responding to criticism about insufficient representation from the southern half of the city, the Palo Alto City Council agreed on Tuesday morning to add five new members to the nascent Citizen Advisory Committee, which was appointed in July to help the city update its Comprehensive Plan.

With 20 total members and 17 voting members, the committee includes former planning commissioners, housing advocates, neighborhood activists and other concerned residents. But with 12 of the 17 voting members making their homes north of Oregon Expressway, critics maintained that the group lacks the geographical balance needed to give the process credibility.

Critics have also maintained that the committee is loaded with too many proponents of new developments, pointing to the large role of Palo Alto Forward on the panel. The citizens group, which advocates for more housing and transportation options, includes three voting members who belong to the Palo Alto Forward steering committee.

The concerns were expressed in countless emails to the City Council and a formal letter submitted two weeks ago by a group of residents that included leaders of the neighborhood group Palo Alto Neighborhoods (PAN) and the slow-growth "residentialist" group Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning (PASZ).

The letter's signatories included PASZ president Cheryl Lilienstein and board members Tim Gray and Joseph Hirsch, PAN leaders Annette Glanckopf and Sheri Furman, and residents Robin Bayer, Norm Beamer, Neilson Buchanan, Jeff Levinsky, Elaine Meyer, Doug Moran, Mark Nadim, Becky Sanders, David Schrom and Peter Taskovich.

Several members of this group attended the Monday night meeting and stuck around well past midnight to reiterate their concerns.

"I'm a firm believer in the process and it is most important that the Citizens Advisory Committee be given opportunity to succeed," Sanders told the council. "As it is now, it would operate under a cloud and it cannot end well. The way in which the members were selected and the lack of transparency does not inspire confidence in the process."

Councilman Tom DuBois, who is affiliated with PASZ, said he has received about 100 emails on the issue of the panel's composition, more than he had received on any other item since joining the council. DuBois said that when the council decided in May to form the new group, it explicitly tried to create criteria for members that would achieve balance. He acknowledges that this is not what happened and pointed to the high number of people from the northern half of the city serving on the panel.

"The majority of any one group isn't good," said DuBois, who then proposed adding five new members as a remedy.

The council also agreed with DuBois that unlike the earlier appointments, which were made by City Manager James Keene, the new ones would be made directly by the council. Applications for the group will be extended until Aug. 25 and the council is scheduled to make the appointments in two weeks.

The council rejected, however, calls to oust two of the committee's members: Chair Daniel Garber, an architect and former member of the Planning and Transportation Commission, and Steve Levy, a regional economist who consults for the Association of Bay Area Governments.

Fred Balin, who addressed the council Monday, said he doesn't see how a resident who contracts for a planning authority "that creates policies and goals that are at odds with both the City Council and the public at large" can also serve as a voting member on the citizens group working on the Comprehensive Plan -- a clear reference to Levy.

Balin and others also emphasized Garber's role with 27 University Ave., an unpopular and ultimately ill-fated project proposed by John Arrillaga in 2012 that included four office towers and a theater. Garber was commissioned by the city in 2012 to work on the project and resigned from the planning commission. Last month, the citizens panel voted to elect him as its chair.

Meyer argued that the project at 27 University Ave. had cause a "stain on the reputation of our city" and argued that Garber should resign because of his involvement with that project, which was heavily criticized for its lack of transparency.

"If the Comprehensive Plan discussion has to have even the appearance of representing residents, these development-tainted individuals cannot be part of the leadership," Meyer said.

Councilman Cory Wolbach was the first to reject these calls for Garber's and Levy's resignations and implored residents not to "attack citizen volunteers," commissioners, committee members or staff. He called allegations of conflict of interest "baseless and unfair."

"If you want to attack someone, attack us ... attack the people on the dais," Wolbach said. We are the ones you elect and we are the ones responsible for the things you like and the things you don't like in Palo Alto."

Wolbach also called it "absurd" for citizens to see a membership in Palo Alto Forward (or any other land-use, civic or environmental group) as a "black mark."

Yet council members also agreed that the group could benefit from more balance. Vice Mayor Greg Schmid noted that Palo Alto's geography is pretty straight forward, with about half the number of residents north of Oregon Expressway and half south of Oregon.

"You'd expect the committee, which is political in nature, should have equal representation," Schmid said. "It is somewhat surprising to find the committee that has 12 on the one side and five on the other."

Councilman Marc Berman lobbied his colleagues to use this opportunity to add more people who rent in Palo Alto and who are under 35 — two categories that have very little representation on the group.

Berman's proposal initially faced push-back from Councilman Pat Burt, who warned against adding too many new factors into the mix.

"If we're going to open it up to other greater diversity concerns, we stand a good chance of not correcting an imbalance that's there right now and maybe exacerbating it," Burt said.

He and the rest of the council agreed to Berman's proposal after members agreed that adding younger members and renters should be a focus but not a requisite.

The council also debated and agreed on several proposals aimed at making the committee more efficient and transparent. This includes supporting the idea of group "subcommittees," focusing on particular Comprehensive Plan topics and a new policy of having the meetings be recorded. The council also supported a process that would allow four committee members to write minority opinions if they disagree with the majority.

The citizens group is charged with reviewing every chapter (of "elements") of the Comprehensive Plan and working with the council to complete the update, which was launched in 2006 and which the city hopes to conclude by the end of 2016. Often referred to as the city's "land-use bible," the document sets the foundation for the city's zoning code and other citywide policies.

Comments

3 people like this
Posted by agree but
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 18, 2015 at 10:14 am

I agree that the previous Comprehensive Plan Panel was stacked with PAF members and did not include a significant number of residents south of Oregon. OTOH, how much impact does such a citizen's group really have on the CC?


16 people like this
Posted by Clever
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2015 at 10:24 am

Berman is definitely a politician. He's arguing for more renters and under 35s to be added to the panel because he knows those groups are more likely to vote for high density.

Very clever. I hope the rest of the council sees through the ruse and ensures new members are those who truly have a commitment to the long-term future of Palo Alto.

And with only 5 new seats, there is still a north/south imbalance, with 12 in the north and 10 in the south. So whether by seven votes or two, north still has a majority. If you're going to correct the imbalance, do it all the way so it's equal!


1 person likes this
Posted by Mystified
a resident of University South
on Aug 18, 2015 at 10:41 am

A compromise that worked. Hmmm... unusual for our city council.


25 people like this
Posted by Fake sincerity
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 18, 2015 at 11:02 am

>Councilman Cory Wolbach was the first to reject these calls for Garber's and Levy's resignations<
Wolbach thinks criticizing public figures and pointing out conflicts of interest are "personal attacks."
He is a perfect example of people using pseudo-politeness as an excuse to stifle dissent. [Portion removed.]
A very skillful politician but he isn't fooling anyone. If you can fake sincerity, you've got it made.


8 people like this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 18, 2015 at 11:17 am

At the PACC meeting last night they dissected the increase in the utility charges for water and how that would be applied against individual bills.
If we are going to pay a Drought Tax then all further development needs to come to a halt. The private citizen should not be carrying the burden for
water use by corporations.
All those "add density" people need to back off - the home owner is not going to pay the freight here.


8 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 18, 2015 at 11:35 am

I think this is a fair and reasonable outcome, and I commend the Council for making this decision.


15 people like this
Posted by Becky Sanders
a resident of Ventura
on Aug 18, 2015 at 11:52 am

Councilmembers Berman and Wolbach were clearly triggered by something last night - what is was was unclear to me, and they both took a swipe at intimidation of would be public servants -- folks who applied in good faith to be on the committee or others who might apply in the future, but were turned off by rancor and criticism surrounding the seating of members to the CAC. Is anyone referring to anything other than the lambasting that Garber and Levy took in Palo Alto Online? I would like to hear if anyone was accosted or threatened in any way. It would be good to know. Levy and Garber are pretty public guys and have been in the public eye for years and are liable to be treated as politicians themselves I suppose.

I have lived in Palo Alto for 25 years and am truly turned off by cowards hiding behind their anonymity to insult people. And frankly I would prefer if the Weekly did not allow anonymous comments. But I think obnoxious behavior gets folks' blood going and that equals more sales and eyeballs for the Weekly. Sort of telenovela revenue stream for them.

Now I totally get WHISTLEBLOWER anonymity, and if I ruled the Weekly I would permit posts by whistleblowers who fear reprisals. But as for all the mudslinging, I would put the hammer down on that right quick and disallow those comments.

So I repeat does anyone have specific tales of intimidation other than the cowards of Online? Because that is truly uncool.

I skip over all anonymous comments unless someone who is non anonymous refers to the comment and then I'll go over to reference it if I need to for clarity.

Thanks to all. I love this City.


16 people like this
Posted by Clever
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2015 at 12:23 pm

@Becky,

The anonymity allows everyone to participate without fear of reprisals. Not everyone is safe from retaliation in the real world, and that does not make them cowards. If we shut down everyone who doesn't feel they can risk revealing their identity we leave the forum of public opinion open to only the powerful.

So, how about not adding to the name-calling?

I'm not sure why you think anyone was threatened just because Berman and Wolbach were defensive last night. There is ongoing controversy in the city that remains, in large part, from the last City Council and the decisions they made. The PTC is also under fire because the outgoing council kicked off members that were conservative about growth and replaced them with people who are very pro-growth, which is in direct conflict with how the voters voted.

Until the elected and appointed public servants accurately reflect the voter split, there is going to be a lot of conflict. Those public servants that continue to work against what the majority voted are going to be criticized, so they (and you) will have to get used to it.


2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 18, 2015 at 12:32 pm

"how much impact does such a citizen's group really have on the CC?"

Very little to none. It's window dressing, a patina of citizen participation in a kabuki whose script was written long ago in city hall.

But appearances, especially of fairness to the south, are critical.


20 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 18, 2015 at 12:32 pm

Several people spoke in person against Garber and Levy last night, staying past midnight to do so. Over a hundred people signed the PASZ letter with their name and contact information that was included with the council packet. Palo Alto Online played no roll in this controversy, other than to report what had been happening during the council's summer break.

Both Garber and Levy enjoy relationships in planning and development circles that set them apart from other citizen volunteers selected for the CAC. I believe that makes them unsuitable for the citizen's advisory commitee. Keene and Gitleman offered no coherent explanation or rationale of their selection process to council. So, folks are clearly within their rights to openly question if their selection was appropriate.

Both Gerber and Levy should be invited to leave the CAC.


1 person likes this
Posted by Fake sincerity
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 18, 2015 at 1:38 pm

Reference was made to the Grand jury report.

Does anyone have an email address for it, so I can read it?


Like this comment
Posted by Bike commuter
a resident of Ventura
on Aug 18, 2015 at 1:40 pm

Suspected typo: "The council rejected, however, calls to two of the committee's members"

Should it be "The council rejected, however, calls FOR THE RESIGNATION OF two of the committee's members"?

Or were they actually suggesting the Council call them during the meeting?


11 people like this
Posted by Do Not Use Your Real Name
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2015 at 1:54 pm

Using your real name is dangerous. People who are not of sound mind can find your address and more--even cause you harm, send hate mail, threaten your family, vandalize your home, etc.

PAPD recommends that participants use NEITHER their true name or neighborhood--it makes it too easy for the perps to track you down.


10 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 18, 2015 at 2:06 pm

I'd echo the warning from PAPD about not using one's real name or neighborhood on social media, including Facebook.

I'm always amazed at how people post things like "My flight is is 2 hours late and I'm stuck at the gate. I can't wait to spend 2 weeks at the beach."

The house sitter of a friend in San Carlos was recently assaulted and raped when a guy came to the door, asked for the friend by name and said he was there to pick up something (friend's name) had stored for him.

Be careful out there.


21 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 18, 2015 at 2:15 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

On Garber, CAC, 27 University Ave project

A major "public benefit" of the proposed 27 U Ave project was that it would have provided an expensive new home for a private group TheatreWorks (Web Link). Garber was then a member of its Board of Trustees -- he is now Emeritus -- and it was widely perceived as a conflict-of-interest for him to be advocating for "public benefit" be given to his private group.

This problem has persisted. At the August meeting of the CAC, the consensus of the group seemed to be to drop the element "Consider the development of a performing arts center through a public-private partnership with Stanford University that would be an asset to the community and local economy." (C2.5.1 - at page 14 in PDF Web Link)
The sense was that this was unnecessary, what with the recently completed Bing Center at Stanford and theater at Palo Alto High School. The Stanford representative on the CAC didn't see a need for an additional facility. Who was the advocate for Palo Alto building yet another such center? Garber.


2 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 18, 2015 at 2:55 pm

Link to SCC Civil Grand Jury Report:
Web Link


12 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 18, 2015 at 2:55 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

RE: Becky Sanders
> "Councilmembers Berman and Wolbach...they both took a swipe at intimidation of would be public servants...turned off by rancor and criticism...Is anyone referring to anything other than the lambasting that Garber and Levy took in Palo Alto Online?"

"Intimidation" has come to be used as a code word for people being challenged to support the correctness of their claims or action. Here on TSF you will see commenters complaining about this when challenged about their facts or logic. There are multiple expressions: "free speech rights", "right to my opinion", ... There is a significant segment of society that believes that what they feel trumps reality. The "Word of the Year" for 2006 was "truthiness" (Web Link) coined the previous year by Stephen Colbert. This is part of the underlying discussions about "Political Correctness" (it is a phenomenon of both the right and the left and many other advocacy groups).

On my blog, I have commenters incensed that they can't get away with changing a "contribution" into an "expense", separate into joint, "(A proves B) and ((not A) proves B)" and a host of fellow-travelers who believe that such people have a right to foist their falsehoods and delusions on an audience.

On Cory Wolbach's position: During the Council campaign, he repeatedly made it clear that "civility" was more important than right-and-wrong: I made multiple attempts to talk to him about this but he didn't seem to understand that someone could use polite language to severely abuse the truth, and that defending the truth was not being a breach of "civility".


7 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Grandma
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 18, 2015 at 3:25 pm

This is good news. I would apply again except my house is north of Oregon, through no fault of my own. When we moved to Palo Alto in 1975 it was the only one we saw we could actually afford. Or almost afford.

I would like to suggest that the newly constituted committee with the 5 additional members assume that they are starting fresh and re-do the election of Chairman and Vice-Chairman. This is as much for optics as anything else. If one is seen to be pro-developer, then then other should not be. There are several members of the committee, and undoubtedly one of the new members, that can manage the Chair/Vice-Chair positions just as well as the current Chair/Vice Chair. A re-election would go a long way towards defusing what is seen to be a pro-development slant to the process.

Having some younger members on the committee would be good. I'm not so fearful that they would be gung-ho in favor of more density as some seem to think. Yes, we need more housing, and more affordable housing, but younger members with children are just as concerned about affordable housing, traffic congestion, school crowding etc. as those of us who have lived here a long time.

Frankly, as a senior, I would like the committee and the City Council to put another Channing House at the top of the list of priorities. Along with a city wide shuttle service that actually works and a crack-down on the crazy, dangerous drivers.

And finally, the committee needs to understand that they can talk all they want to about dealing with internal Palo Alto issues. But unless they and the City Council raise their eyes and understand that the issues we are dealing with are regional, solutions that only focus within Palo Alto borders are not real solutions. Think big - tunnel the railroad tracks and switch to BART!! That would go a long way towards increasing regional mobility.


4 people like this
Posted by Mary Grimes
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 18, 2015 at 5:05 pm

"I skip over all anonymous comments unless someone who is non anonymous refers to the comment..."

You are an easy mark. How do you know if a plausible seeming name is real, or even if it belongs to the poster? The Weekly has no digital identity certificate system, and it likely never will.


12 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 18, 2015 at 6:47 pm

Not sure why Cory made his comment about not attacking citizen volunteers and certainly CC didn't have a voice in the first go round of selecting, not electing, members of the panel. 'Attacking' is too strong of a word anyway and certainly people should be able to speak out and express opinions on why they think certain people shouldn't be on the panel. Volunteerism might sound very noble but if it's done to protect person interests or those of special groups then they should be challenged.


8 people like this
Posted by Fake sincerity
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 18, 2015 at 10:03 pm

You know, Mr.Johnson, I think there are two reasons he spoke out.
First, he is stuck in his childhood training about being polite. He hasn't adapted that valid lesson to life as an adult. He scolds serious people for not being polite enough like he was scolded as a child.
Second, and it is a corollary the first one, it's possible he isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer.
Possibly a third reason, he supports those development people.


9 people like this
Posted by Paly Mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 18, 2015 at 10:41 pm

There are individuals on this committee who would financially benefit from changes made in our residential building codes. These are the building codes within the comp plan regarding residential set backs, massing, second stories, and groundwater pumping for basement construction. Nowadays these people hide behind the environmental "Green" theme, when in fact the only thing "Green" is money.

Be careful and do your background checking.
Some of these people may be directly linked by marriage to people in our local construction industry.






4 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 19, 2015 at 8:07 am

The only regulation controlling basement construction is the FEMA flood zone declarations. Comp,Plan has nothing to do with basement construction and/or de-watering.


14 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 19, 2015 at 3:53 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

As far as Cory Walback, Steve Levy and their pro development cohorts are concerned, personal attacks and incivility occur when they are exposed for their ties to the development industry and lobby. During the last campaign, Walback refused to be specific about any important issue, particularly development and urbanization, deflecting questions with the template "I am for civility and cooperation". Once he got elected, the mask came off. He supports every development plan, and his "civility" shtick has been replaced by impatience, some of it i would label as tantrums, and accusation of personal attack against those who call him on his extreme pro development positions.


3 people like this
Posted by History Buff
a resident of another community
on Aug 19, 2015 at 4:51 pm

Dan Garber was involved the 27 University debacle, which was a key element in the grand jury report.

Garber was a commissioner on the Palo Alto Planning & Transportation Commission. He resigned in March 2012 to work on the Arrillaga project:
Web Link

September 24, 2012 CMR # 3064: Approval of Professional Services:
3) Contract with Fergus Garber Young Consultants in the Amount of $85,000 for Urban Design and Architectural Services [for the Arrillaga project]


Like this comment
Posted by History Buff
a resident of another community
on Aug 19, 2015 at 4:59 pm

Why did the city manager appoint the first group and now the city council will appoint the new members?


3 people like this
Posted by Fake sincerity
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 19, 2015 at 5:54 pm

Joe, thank you for the Grand Jury report URL on the SCScourt.org website.
Web Link

Funny how hard it is to find on the Palo Alto web site --assuming it is there -- I could only find the city's Response.
Maybe it is buried like the other documents that don't fit the PR image.


1 person likes this
Posted by Fake sincerity
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 20, 2015 at 3:45 pm

Re North-South imbalance:
South Palo Altan, Mila Zelkha is a DEVELOPER. She now works for Palantir as a "Community Ambassador."

From her bio:
>"In concert with my design & development work, I founded Wrecking Belle, Inc., a licensed residential construction company that served the San Francisco Bay Area. As a licensed general building contractor,"etc. (in Oakland, 8 years)

>Director of Real Estate & Facilities, InnVision Shelter Network 2013-2015

>Realtor® The Stone Company 2006–January 2013 (7 years)Oakland, CA


Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 20, 2015 at 5:19 pm

"Application Process Re-opened for Citizens Advisory Committee!"

Just received an email from the City, soliciting applications by Aug 25.

Web Link


8 people like this
Posted by Fred Balin
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 20, 2015 at 6:40 pm

Fred Balin is a registered user.

History Buff is correct that Mr. Garber resigned from the Planning & Transportation Commission (PTC) in March 2012 and that in September of that year, the council approved a contract for $85,000 for his firm FGY (Fergus, Garber Young) Architects related to the 27 University Avenue project plans.

But there are a few intervening events to be noted: A few days after Mr. Garber’s PTC resignation, the first mention of a project at 27 University Avenue came into the public view via a final, end-of-evening item placed on a revised council agenda. It asked for approval of the use of $250,000 in “Intermodal Transit Funds” that had been set aside as part of the Stanford Hospitals and Medical Center Development Agreement. The stated purpose of the funds was to design a “passive park/green space” in the area. The council approved the item and a month later, FGY was awarded its initial contract for $64,300.

But in the second (September) contract, it was clear that the assigned scope for his firm’s services extended far beyond design services and into areas such as “agency and stakeholder engagement,” “theatre use entitlement development,” and “city council presentation.”

Around this time, Mr. Garber did resign from the TheatreWorks board, where he had been a trustee for over 7 years.

In early December, 2012, he made his presentation at a packed council meeting filled with residents upset over press revelations of private meetings and the size of the project slated for an area where there was not even an entitlement to build. In his presentation as I experienced it, he had stretched from professional designer into the area of advocate for the project.

I wrote to the city council about this in greater detail. If you are interested in the background and conclusions, it can be found on Pages 77-79 of the Letters “packet” released today at Web Link . (The PDF document is also searchable, so you can type in key words to get to a desired spot.)



Mr. Garber was certainly not the only person who strayed from public confidence during the ill-fated 27 University Avenue process. Staff embarked on private meetings with builder/philanthropist John Arrillaga without recording any notes. Council members individually or in small groups, meet with the city to see well-developed plans before the public had any knowledge of any such project. The civil grand jury report tells the more extended story.

In retrospect, the city should never have assigned a contract to FGY Architects if the scope of work was to go beyond plans for the passive park. If FGY was to work on design plans for the 27 University Avenue project, they should have been hired by Mr. Arrillaga not the city using funds that were not earmarked for that task. Mr. Garber wound up in the position of working for the city, but participating in the design of a project for Mr. Arrillaga — one that held a public benefit dear to his heart — and becoming a public advocate for the project.


Like this comment
Posted by Mark Michael
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 21, 2015 at 9:24 am

In discussing the membership of the "advisory" committee, it may be important to focus on the purpose of forming a committee to stimulate debate about the long-term vision and related policies, goals and programs that might be considered by Council in long overdue action to update the City's Comprehensive Plan.

The advisory committee will hold public meetings -- that any resident may attend -- and discuss materials -- that will all be made publicly available. After a series of meetings, this large committee will presumably render a report to Council, most likely in written form with a short presentation at a future Council meeting. Then, perhaps next year, Council will begin its own process to review a large mass of materials, including: the 1998 Comp Plan, the so-called draft revisions done with City staff support over a six-year period by the PTC, on-line submissions, and the expected Comp Plan Advisory Committee comments. Just imagine how the Council discussion may proceed, especially when it comes down to digesting the obligatory staff report, welcoming public comments, and then conducting debate on motions, substitute motions, friendly and unfriendly amendments, correcting errata and verbiage in a massive document. These marathon meetings should be catered by Starbucks, Peets (oops, that would be formula retail), or Philz as they go long into the night.

Having observed the Comp Plan revision process for the last four years, I am not encouraged that the final revision will actually be completed by the Council in 2016. Even if this might happen, the revision would be a mere six years past the "sunset" date of the 1998 Comp Plan. And because this whole process is so fraught with controversy, and also because the CEQA requirement for a program Environmental Impact Report is so onerous, the decision was made for the revised plan to have a sunset date of 2030. In a world, region and community where conditions are subject to rapid and dynamic change, a 15-year crystal ball for long-term policies is doomed to be largely irrelevant. Palo Alto can't be both a center of innovation and a community clinging to the status quo; although either vision might be feasible and we should just pick which direction to go.

In the six years from the 2010 sunset date of the 1998 Comp Plan until the 2016 goal for its next revision, there will have been six different Mayors on our Council. The rotating, one-year, ceremonial role of Council leadership would seem to promote Mayoral priorities that could be completed within less than 12 months. Resetting long-term vision and policies for the City isn't amenable to such well intentioned but inevitably short term efforts. Perhaps it is not the fault of any one Mayor that this hasn't been completed, although I hope Council and its leadership will rededicate their efforts to get this job done. And, if not, then future elections will give residents a chance to exert their power to select new representatives.

Concerns about who and how many people serve on the advisory committee should be tempered by the goal of actually updating the Comp Plan, a job that is owned by Council. In the meantime, as anyone can see in our neighborhoods and commercial districts, real life decisions by private residents and private sector organizations and businesses will continue to run circles around a slow moving public bureaucracy.


Like this comment
Posted by Clever
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 21, 2015 at 10:54 am

@Mark Michael said:

>> "Palo Alto can't be both a center of innovation and a community clinging to the status quo; "

Gee, no bias in that statement, right? Having watched the August 12th PTC meeting video, it is quite clear how development-focused Mr. Michael and his fellow PTC members are. Watch the video here, and start at 1:20 - 1 hour 20 minutes - to watch the discussion on the proposed office cap.

Web Link

Make sure you have an hour and a half or so, it really gets comical near the end.


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

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