News

City Council race heats up

Planning commissioners, citizen volunteers announce candidacies, vow to address Palo Alto's 'housing crisis'

With just days to go until the filing deadline, the race for the City Council in Palo Alto is suddenly heating up, with four residents confirming this week that they will vie for a seat in November and each pointing to the city's housing shortage as a key area of concern.

In addition to the four --- Adrian Fine, Greer Stone, Don McDougall and Michelle Kraus -- several other residents have pulled papers, suggesting that they are considering a run. This includes planning commissioner Greg Tanaka; Stewart Carl, a member of the group Sky Posse, which focuses on airplane noise; and retired civics teacher John Fredrich, who also ran in 2014.

If all of them run, there would be 11 candidates vying for four seats on the nine-seat council. Councilwoman Liz Kniss is the only incumbent who is seeking a re-election. In addition, there will be three open seats: one vacated by Marc Berman, who is running for the state Assembly, and two vacated by Mayor Pat Burt and Councilman Greg Schmid, who are terming out.

The list of newly confirmed candidates includes two native Palo Altans who currently chair local commissions: Fine and Stone. Fine, chair of the Planning and Transportation Commission, confirmed this week that he will seek a seat on the council. In an interview, Fine said he is running because he wants to work toward making Palo Alto an "inclusive, walkable, multi-generational city in the future." He rejects characterizations of himself as either pro- or anti-development, but stressed the importance of building more housing through community collaboration.

"We have a bit of a monoculture here where we have these amazing single-family neighborhoods and it's great, and they need to be protected and preserved," Fine said. "But I'd like to see the community come together to do specific area plans for places like downtown and California Avenue, which might support more housing."

Fine also said he supports experimenting with things like "micro-units" and housing in Residential Parking Permit zones where permit restrictions would force new residents to bike, walk and take transit.

Fine is one of several past and sitting planning commissioners expected to run for a seat in November. Arthur Keller, who served for two terms on the commission and who was well known for challenging developers and questioning prevailing planning assumptions, announced last month that he will seek a council seat. Keller lost his commission seat in November 2014, after the council voted 5-4 not to reappoint him (this was just days after the slow-growth "residentalist" candidates won council majority and two months before the newly elected members were set to be sworn in). At the same meeting, the outgoing council voted to appoint Fine, whose educational background is in urban planning and who currently works at Nextdoor.

Keller has remained deeply involved in civic affairs since leaving the commission and currently co-chairs the citizens group that is working to update the city's land-use bible, the Comprehensive Plan.

Planning Commissioner Greg Tanaka, who preceded Fine as commission chair, is also expected to join the contest. Tanaka, the commission's longest serving member and former president of the College Terrace Residents Association, has not formally announced his candidacy but he has pulled papers and told the Weekly that he is "very likely" to run.

A consummate moderate with no clear ideological leanings, Tanaka is known for his detail-driven approach toward analyzing development proposals and traffic projects. Though he joined the rest of the commission in opposing the city's office cap earlier this year, he has also been at times critical of new developments and had voted against the Lytton Gateway development, a controversial "planned community" project at 101 Lytton Ave. that was ultimately approved by the commission and the council.

But it's not just the planning commissioners who are joining the fray. Greer Stone, who currently chairs the Human Relations Commission, also announced this week that he will run for council. Since joining the commission, Stone has participated in Project Safety Net, the community collaboration that focused on youth well-being. As a commissioner, he has also focused on issues that affect the homeless population, the senior population and residents with mental health issues.

"I think I'll see the city from a completely different point of view," Stone told the Weekly. "I talked to people who feel invisible."

In announcing his candidacy, Stone said he recognizes the need to address the city's "housing crisis" but said it's important to do so in a way that will minimize traffic congestion and impacts to local schools and neighborhoods. He told the Weekly that he supports raising the percentage of below-market-rate housing units that new developments must provide, from the existing level of 15 percent to 25 percent (same as in San Francisco). He also told the Weekly that he would support doing away with rules that allow developers to pay in-lieu fees instead of providing housing on site.

"Clearly, Palo Alto and the entire Bay Area region is in a housing crisis, and we have an affordable-housing crisis," Stone told the Weekly. "I don't think we can just advocate responsibility and then completely put our heads in the sand. But at the same time, Palo Alto doesn't have to look like downtown Redwood City, which all the development in the last 15 to 20 years, or Mountain View or Sunnyvale."

Don McDougall, a member of the Library Advisory Commission, calls housing the first, second and third priority. A former CEO of software companies with a passion for data crunching, McDougall on Wednesday confirmed to the Weekly he also will be running for a council seat in November. McDougall, who grew up in Calgary and who lived in Amsterdam, Boston and Portland before moving to Palo Alto 13 years ago, became deeply immersed in local planning in recent years, first as a member of the library commission and then as part of the Citizens Advisory Committee that is updating the Comprehensive Plan.

Through his work on the citizens committee, he said, he had come to realize that the problems that the city is facing around housing, transportation and land use are "tremendously complex" and that his experience in evaluating data can be an asset in addressing these challenges. Though he said he is not espousing any particular proposals to add housing (doing so without community buy-in, he said, would be "premature") he supports evaluating solutions like accessory-dwelling units, "cluster houses" and higher density near train stations.

McDougall also advocates strong collaboration between residential and commercial interests, which he said are currently opposed to each other. Recent efforts at Stanford Research Park and with the downtown Transportation Management Association to promote new transportation alternatives suggest that local companies can have an important role to play in solving problems like parking shortages and traffic congestion, which are important to local residents.

"I think there is room and opportunity for aggressive negotiations and coming together with good ideas," McDougall said.

Downtown resident Michelle Kraus also comes from a technology background, though her focus to date has been on the national level. As managing director at Technology and Politics Group, Kraus said she looks at "trends for transportation and infrastructure in this country and around the world." Currently, she serves as head of global government affairs for Hyperloop Transportation Technologies.

In an interview, Kraus said she would like to see more creativity in addressing Palo Alto's transportation and housing challenges. Living in Palo Alto, she said, has become cost prohibitive for most people. The city needs "affordable alternatives," she said.

"We need housing for the young professionals; we need housing for young families; we need housing for the tech workers who are here in their 50s and 60s, because nobody retires now," Kraus said. "It's got to be more affordable."

The new candidates are joining a field that already includes Kniss, Barron Park resident Lydia Kou and Keller, all of whom had previously announced their candidacy. Of the 11 candidates, Kou is the only one who was actively involved in the 2013 campaign to overturn a council-approved housing development on Maybell Avenue, which included a 60-unit complex for low-income seniors and 12 single-family homes. She ran in 2014 with the endorsement of the slow-growth citizens group, Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning but was narrowly edged out for the fifth seat by Cory Wolbach.

A longtime community volunteer who coordinated emergency-preparedness events and cultural festivals, Kou also serves on the Citizens Advisory Committee that is working to update the Comprehensive Plan.

Residents have until Aug. 17 to file their candidacy papers.

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Comments

35 people like this
Posted by jane_u
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 12, 2016 at 7:45 am

Great thought from Adrian Fine on housing, transportation and cultural diversity that are very much needed in Palo Alto. So glad that an urban planner is finally running for City Council. He has the education, and the experience, and will definitely bring a fresh perspective. Good luck Adrian Fine! I will be voting for you.


38 people like this
Posted by Elaine Uang
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 12, 2016 at 7:51 am

I am excited to see both Adrian Fine and Don McDougall announce their candidacies. I serve with both on the Comprehensive Plan Citizen's Advisory Committee and have been impressed by their intelligence, thoughtfulness, and commitment to an inclusive Palo Alto - to welcome people of all ages, professions, abilities.

Adrian is passionate about making our city work for our current residents - young and old. He is commitTted to data driven decision making and champions trying things quickly, cheaply before committing to long term solutions.

Don is an excellent listener and is connect with people of all interests. He sparks and inspires everyone he meets. I have been impressed by his leadership and ability to help structure processes and facilitate difficult conversations.

Looking forward to the election cycle - hoping Adrian and Don make it as they will be fabulous additions to the city council!


33 people like this
Posted by Amie
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 12, 2016 at 7:55 am

I agree with Adrian Fine. I moved to Palo Alto years ago because it was such a progressive community with bike paths, varied housing, density, and transit. What have we become now, closed minded and afraid - of what, I am still not sure. I support that vision of Palo Alto as a inclusive, walkable, multi-generational city, as all the best cities are.


27 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 12, 2016 at 8:43 am

Clearly the Palo Alto Forward development advocates have organized their support for pro development candidates.
Adrian Fine's employer Nextdoor depends on population growth especially new people.


20 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of University South
on Aug 12, 2016 at 8:47 am

It's good to see new folks putting their hats in the ring.

Adrian Fine has roots in Palo Alto and returned home to be a volunteer and help his city. He's been a sensible voice on the Planning Commission, from what I've seen.

Greg Tanaka as well has done good work. He does seem to be a moderate who has side-stepped some of the divides in town. That's a plus in my book, even if I don't always agree with him.

I haven't seen much from Don McDougall yet, but a truly data-driven approach to solving problems would be welcome in Palo Alto. Past candidates who have claimed to be data-driven have just looked for data to prove their own prior beliefs, and ignored new data that was inconvenient for them.


21 people like this
Posted by mark michael
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 12, 2016 at 8:49 am

Many of the announced and expected candidates bring to the Council dais a breadth and depth of experience that will help foster a constructive debate on the City's long-term planning and current issues. Current and former members of the Planning & Transportation Commission -- including PTC Chair Fine and past Chair Tanaka -- have immersed themselves in the land use and mobility issues at the heart of the City's most pressing concerns.

Also, in an election year that reveals deep partisanship locally and nationally, we would benefit from more thoughtful analysis and less dogmatic belief systems. Such ideologies often end in "ism." Contrast this with an approach to making decisions based on collection and analysis of data, review of the facts, and open and transparent debate. Whether it may be populism, progressivism, residentialism or neo-urbanism, the tendency to form into factions and engage in a fact-free argument is not helpful.

I am encouraged by the balance and diversity of perspective that is represented by youngsters like Adrian Fine, old-timers like Liz Kniss, neighborhood advocates like Greg Tanaka, and new comers like Don McDougal and Michele Kraus. Let the debates begin.


25 people like this
Posted by jane_u
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 12, 2016 at 8:51 am

@Resident
That's simply untrue. Nextdoor.com is a community-building tool and a way to connect with your neighbors. It's a way to find your lost puppy or get free tomatoes your neighbor may be offering.
Also - we need new, young, smart, energetic people in Palo Alto! We are bleeding our human capital at an astonishing rate.


29 people like this
Posted by finally!
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 12, 2016 at 9:13 am

So excited to see new hats in the ring! Particularly excited to see candidates like Fine and McDougal who aren't willing to ignore the housing crisis any longer.


23 people like this
Posted by Will
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 12, 2016 at 9:29 am

Great news in what's been a scary week for the future of our city! Adrian Fine is very qualified for this role, and I hope he can bring some much-needed help to the housing crisis before it's too late. It's great to see the extensive support for him, too - though unsurprising given his experience and position.


19 people like this
Posted by Harold and Ethel
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Aug 12, 2016 at 9:54 am

We're excited by the fresh perspective Adrian Fine will bring. Great to this an urban planner running for Council. Good luck, Adrian. You have our vote.


21 people like this
Posted by Lee Katz
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 12, 2016 at 10:11 am

This race is heating up! I'm confident that someone like Adrian Fine will prioritize housing and transportation for everyone, not just the single-family demographic. His experience at Nextdoor building partnerships and his background in urban planning would be huge assets for Palo Alto.

Plus he's local and has an invested interested in this city! I think I know who I'm voting for.


22 people like this
Posted by Jane Huang
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 12, 2016 at 10:31 am

I am excited to see a young Palo Altan like Adrian Fine running! It gives hope to other young Palo Altans who grew up here like me that we can make Palo Alto a sustainable place to live for everyone.


26 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 12, 2016 at 10:33 am

Housing has gone beyond the ridiculous! Glad to see people like Adrian and Don on board to come up with solutions that help our community to continue to thrive and sustain itself. Even for (only?) millionaires, Palo Alto is not a sustainable place to live and raise kids unless you inherit your property, and our future depends on diversity and a thriving community comprised of all incomes to maintain Palo Alto as a dynamic and wonderful place. Time is running out for change!


36 people like this
Posted by Resident2
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 12, 2016 at 11:20 am

Resident2 is a registered user.

Adrian Fine is very pro development. His tenure on the Planning and Transportation Committee has helped render it ineffective. Expect significant upzoning, increased traffic and parking problems if he is elected. He does not understand or truly sympathize with the needs of many residents. It's nice to see the Palo Alto Forward folks strongly supporting him on this thread but again, they tend to be pro-developer as well. Cory will seem like a moderate in comparison to Adrian's pro growth beliefs.


18 people like this
Posted by Michael Havern
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 12, 2016 at 11:29 am

Michael Havern is a registered user.

What we need more of in our town (and nation, and world) is thoughtful exchanges of ideas, using the best information (and understanding of evolving technology and its implications for the future) to achieve optimal trade-offs between admirable goals. I have known Don McDougall for some time, and he has the capacity and the determination to exemplify that on the Council. As a 30-year resident of (and unabashed ambassador for) Palo Alto, I am concerned about the increasing political divide -- "residentialists" vs. "growth" -- and will support those who look to bridge that divide, to keep this the most thriving, livable, innovative city I know. Good luck Don, you have my support.


28 people like this
Posted by Norman Beamer
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 12, 2016 at 11:58 am

I the interests of transparency, it is important that the persons running who are in one way or another associated with Palo Alto Forward be clearly identified. That characteristic is far more informative than the stated positions of the candidates to the effect of "I want to preserve single family residences" or "I'm for smart growth."


15 people like this
Posted by Excited for the new candidates
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 12, 2016 at 12:43 pm

Excited for Adrian, Don, and Greg!


13 people like this
Posted by Downtown Worker
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 12, 2016 at 12:56 pm

@Norman Beamer - none of the candidates are leaders in Palo Alto Forward. There's no secret to it - you can look at their steering committee here: Web Link

The PAF leadership list is
* Elaine Uang
* Sandra Slater
* Steve Levy
* Diane Morin
* Eric Rosenblum
* Mehdi Alhassani
* Kate Downing (although presumably she will resign soon as she leaves for Santa Cruz)


13 people like this
Posted by GoCollegeTerrace
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 12, 2016 at 12:57 pm

Excited to see Stewart Carl entering the race - like to hear more about him, Weekly!


18 people like this
Posted by digitalmama
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 12, 2016 at 12:58 pm

digitalmama is a registered user.

So glad that Adrian and Don have thrown their hats into the ring! Both have shown themselves to be thoughtful and impressive voices in their respective public service activities. Don is a great listener and always has a balanced perspective. Adrian's urban planning background will give informed focus to how we can best deal with the growth of the region and it's effects.
Hooray for them!


19 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 12, 2016 at 1:16 pm

@jane_u believes
Nextdoor.com is a community-building tool and a way to connect with your neighbors. It's a way to find your lost puppy (awww..) or get free tomatoes

Yes, those are the building blocks for growth for this multimillion dollar national corporation. They need lots of naive users who dont see the big picture.
I have read that they are planning to introduce advertising and their goal looks like they want to compete with Facebook.
They NEED new people who haven't yet found a dry cleaner or a hair salon. Thats ok, though reading those unending lost dog messages is a real bore (awww).

Yes they need GROWTH, the more new people in an area, the MORE they grow. Adrian Fine by advocating growth is doing his job for them.


25 people like this
Posted by anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Aug 12, 2016 at 2:31 pm

Next-door already has "sponsored" posts which are ads

Next-door is useful but its success depends on if it can make money for it's investors and executives.
Like most social media it exists to make money and is not the same as a community group.


33 people like this
Posted by Alex
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 12, 2016 at 3:05 pm

I will only support those running who want to take on these out of control employee pensions.


8 people like this
Posted by concerned
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 12, 2016 at 3:17 pm

re vested interests, why is it rarely mentioned that Lydia Kou is a realtor?


31 people like this
Posted by Do your homework
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 12, 2016 at 4:04 pm

I think we are old and smart enough to know that people will say all kinds of things to get elected. We should also know that a lot of $ goes into producing all those nice flyers and ads for some of the candidates. $ that probably comes from special interests that might not represent the best interests for our neighborhoods.

I'm mostly concerned about keeping a certain quality of life in this town, and that means I'll vote for candidates with a history of community involvement, not tied to special interests, and who are here to stay instead of using a seat in the council as a stepping stone in their political careers or advance their hidden agendas.

I was shocked at how dismissive Kate Downing from Palo Alto Forward was towards many of us in the community (those who disagree w/ their views), and this is why I'm skeptical of any candidates w/ ties to this organization.


18 people like this
Posted by Charles Wilson George
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 12, 2016 at 5:57 pm

Charles Wilson George is a registered user.

It will be interesting to carefully review the FPPC filings for the candidates and see where the money is coming from to support their campaigns.

Let's not forget how loudly money talks.


20 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2016 at 6:10 pm

I predict an avalanche of "moderates" whose moderation lasts until the day after the election.


3 people like this
Posted by SEA_SEELAM REDDY
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 12, 2016 at 7:38 pm

SEA_SEELAM REDDY is a registered user.

Palo Alto is a great city with great history and great leadership.

We need candidates that will continue to make Palo Alto GREAT again.

respectfully


28 people like this
Posted by Resident PA
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 12, 2016 at 9:24 pm

Correction. Measure D did not overturn a development. Measure D prohibited a zoning change that would have allowed four times the density, three-story houses in an R-1 neighborhood, and a four-story building that was grossly underparked, across from the children's park and school for disabled students. (San Francisco had a similar referendum at the same time as Measure D, but because they have an impartial ballot process - instead of City Council getting to write the ballot question and "impartial" analysis that shamelessly advocated for their position, bringing up all kinds of ethical questions since 60% of the development was for-profit - in San Francisco, the No side won by an even handier margin than Palo Alto. The probkem with the discussion about the issue now is that it still contains the biases inserted by City staff into the ballot. The Weekly published a story about an analysis of the City ballot and analysis relative to the law that called the City ballot so biased as to be illegal.

If proponents had instead worked with neighbors, they might have worked out something similar to what happened in an almost identical battle when a developer wanted to turn Terman school into apartments: residents got a working group, saved the school, and made sure a 92-unit low income apartment came from it. Some of the very same people opposed Measure D and publicly asked for a working group. They were ignored and the rest is history.

I want Councilmembers who would push for similar working groups and collaborations. Lydia Kou and Arthur Keller would be such Councilmembers. PAF members like Fine have been to a one good at talking a big game, but dismissive of others' input and geared to running roughshod over differing views. I would be inclined to vote for Tanaka. Wish Greg Schmid could clone himself.


3 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 12, 2016 at 10:02 pm

[Post removed.]


11 people like this
Posted by Darren
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 12, 2016 at 10:16 pm

If you've watched planning meetings, it doesn't seem to me that current commissioners are ideological.. They're just trying to do their jobs, and that's admirable. The negativity on this thread is coming from some place strange


11 people like this
Posted by Gabriel
a resident of Ventura
on Aug 12, 2016 at 10:25 pm

Can someone here help me understand who "residentialists" are? I have been renting in Palo Alto for years, I pay local taxes, I'm involved in my community, I care about this city's future. Aren't I a residentialist? I think I am!

So which of these folks would represent my voice on the Palo Alto City Council? I certainly don't think it is Arthur Keller or Lydia Kou.

It's time to stop hiding behind doublespeak. If you don't want people like me in Palo Alto, and no one is going to do anything to make it possible for people like me to stay here and have a fair chance, then call it what it is. But it is certainly not "residentialism"


38 people like this
Posted by Can you say Propoganda?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 13, 2016 at 12:09 am

Most of the first 20 or so posts were obviously shills who knew the article was coming and were "encouraged" and poised to post favorable comments regarding Fine and McDougall, and to a lesser extent Tanaka. Now we know who PAF and the pro-growth camp are supporting.

Lydia Kou is a slow-growth, community-focused person, and her job as a realtor does not represent a conflict of interest. My spouse is a realtor in Palo Alto, and we are no growth advocates! I know Lydia personally, and she is extremely community-oriented and a slow-growth residentalist.

[Portion removed.]

NEWSFLASH: Most realtors who live in Palo Alto have no more incentive to change the fabric of our community than anyone else. They live here!

NEWSFLASH: Just because a realtor lives in Palo Alto does not mean they do all, or even most, of their business in Palo Alto.

NEWSFLASH: Sellers are the ones who decide which offer to take (who to sell to); realtors just broker the deal and advice on the specifics. You don't like that foreign buyers are driving up home prices in Palo Alto? Blame the sellers that are taking the highest (foreign) offers, not the realtors representing the sellers.

If you want to condemn realtors, give specific examples with names. Otherwise, you are working to deprive our city of a qualified, caring, hard-working, community-oriented candidate based on gross (and unfair) generalizations.


8 people like this
Posted by Louis
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 13, 2016 at 10:28 am

Im not going to comment on candidates, not aligned with any of them. Big issue is the changing character of PA, and the diminution of any possibility for persons of middle income or lower, with careers that are essential to this (or any) community but less remunerative than tech or capital to remain where, much less move here.

DOING SOMETHING about this in the legislative area is the only skill i believe important. There are decades of law, policy and prejudice surrounding the issues of development, diversity and affordability that I wish to see changed. PA has become a conservative, regressive, exclusionary community despite it self image to the contrary.


9 people like this
Posted by Louis
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 13, 2016 at 11:49 am

Next door is designed to be monetized and create wealth for its investors, despite its "cute" qualities. Lets not be naive.

BUT that has nothing to do with the quals of an employee to serve the community well. I dont know who he is, and have no positions here on any candidate, but a tech guy/girl, a realtor, nurse, teacher, student, investor -- anyone with the right priorities and skills to be successful belongs in this job.

We need constructive change, quickly. The continuing damage to the community by doing little and going slow is very, very difficult to repair later. THAT has long been an effective strategy by "development interests" in many communities like PA, San Francisco, DC. Many governing boards and agencies have have simply not understood the cumulative, incremental effect of change delays on "technical" grounds, "furthur study", etc.

[ FYI, private equity exec, can afford to live here, no personal axe to grind]


12 people like this
Posted by Seth Gorelik
a resident of another community
on Aug 13, 2016 at 1:25 pm

I've worked with Adrian Fine on building stronger communities. He has a strong passion for his work and improving the lives of others. His sound judgement and professionalism would make Adrian an excellent member of City Council.


9 people like this
Posted by Linnea
a resident of Monroe Park
on Aug 13, 2016 at 5:46 pm

I'm glad to see Adrian running for City Council. As a 50-year resident of Palo Alto, I treasure what Palo Alto has always had to offer. I took the poster of a downtown residential street with me for a couple years in Manhattan. :-) But I think we need to plan for and adjust to change. Specifically, a new kind of urbanity - especially along the major corridors. Creating more housing and more varied housing in size and price are my first concerns, for the City's long-term success and personally. I'll be supporting Adrian for his take on housing, as well as for his "let's look at everything" approach.


4 people like this
Posted by the San Diego crash
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 13, 2016 at 6:08 pm

Is Adrain Fine related to Lou Fine? The gadfly of 70s. Man that guy was a a splinter in the banister of life. Just saying.


7 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 13, 2016 at 8:18 pm

I really don't know that much about the candidates, except Lydia, who lost to my friend Cory in the last election. I will be very cautious and observant of what they say during their campaigning period. I will especially be looking at PAF backed candidates. I think I'm clear on the direction they want to take us, and for the most part, I don't like it. But we'll see. That's what these elections are all about. Residentialists seem to be making inroads after our last election and I think and hope that will continue. We need more thinkers, data based people, analysts, and not just idealists wanting to save the world and Palo Alto from all the problems that exist. You always need to ask, who will pay for it? And just taxing the rich isn't the answer.


7 people like this
Posted by Can you say Propoganda?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 13, 2016 at 8:32 pm

[Post removed.]


11 people like this
Posted by Sara
a resident of another community
on Aug 13, 2016 at 9:51 pm

I have known Adrian Fine for years and would definitely vote for him. He is really thoughtful about the issues facing the city and is passionate about looking for solutions that will work for Palo Alto.


15 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 13, 2016 at 9:53 pm


@Downtown worker listed the leaders of PAForward. It is helpful to know a little about them.

The PAF leadership list is
* Elaine Uang - urban architect
* Sandra Slater - designer and developer (partner,Drew Maran Construction Inc)
* Steve Levy - economist; consults for ABAG
* Diane Morin - family lawyer
* Eric Rosenblum - Planning Commission; Palantir employee
* Mehdi Alhassani - Human Relations Commission; Palantir employee
* Kate Downing - Planning Commission;corporate lawyer; husband is long time Palantir employee


15 people like this
Posted by Can you say Propoganda?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 13, 2016 at 11:36 pm

Hmm, looks like comments even remotely criticizing Cory are not tolerated on this site. I would appreciate it if the moderator would clarify what was offensive about my post.

--------------------------------------------

Moderator response: Your deleted post was one line and said "I hope you are being sarcastic when you call Cory a friend."

This is the type of mean-spirited and derogatory comment that will be removed regardless about whom it is said.






9 people like this
Posted by Sam Friedman
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 14, 2016 at 12:27 pm

I have known Adrian Fine for over 30 years and know him as thoughtful, calm, and insightful. Not only do we need his talents on the city council, we need someone to speak for the generation of Palo Altans that are having to leave their home town because of housing costs. By losing a generation of natives, we will be losing the voices and perspective of those who connect us to the history of this city and valley.


21 people like this
Posted by PhotoOp
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 14, 2016 at 1:47 pm

PhotoOp is a registered user.

I don't see how we can gleefully demand all types of new housing without tackling infrastructure .... it is simply irresponsible.... roads, mass transportation, water, schools.... all of them are at being stretched beyond their limits. BTW.... Quality of life does matter as well to those of us who have invested to make Palo Alto our home.

I am ok w/balanced growth, but not growth at any cost.... I am looking for candidates that can talk to both sides of the issue. Isn't it funny how we get stuck at polar ends of the spectrum when the answers are always somewhere in the middle. If there were any community in the US where I would hope we could have intelligent and meaningful dialogue not sound bytes and polarizing points of view I would hope it would be ours....

Lets see... these are serious issues that will require dialogue, compromise and a large reality check before the right answer can arise.


13 people like this
Posted by Susan
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 14, 2016 at 3:22 pm


Some candidates are associated with Palantir:
Web Link


1 person likes this
Posted by Can you say Propoganda?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 14, 2016 at 6:09 pm

@Susan,

Which candidate? I scanned the long article but didn't pick it up.

@Moderator,

Thank you for clarifying, and I realize my comment was poorly worded and indeed came across as offensive. My sentiment was not meant to be mean-spirited, it was meant to be recognition of the irony of someone saying "my friend" when referring to someone with very different views. I apologize for my poor wording.


3 people like this
Posted by Polly Wanacracker
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 15, 2016 at 10:51 am

[Post removed.]


21 people like this
Posted by RES
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 15, 2016 at 12:51 pm

Please lets not build housing without ensuring there is sufficient parking. Its a terrible idea. And any planner who suggests this is shortsighted. When you build w/o parking, you're limiting who it will appeal to - young people, those with offices that are reachable by public transport, etc. What happens when needs change? When a young couple has kids and decides to get a car? Or when jobs change? The reality is that the bay area is geographically spread out and opportunities span the area. Palo Alto and the peninsula was where all the start ups were, now its the city. You never know when you're going to have to get in a car and drive to work.

From what I have read so far, the PAF folks seem very out of touch with reality in many ways as displayed by Kate Downing's letter and Adrian's Fine's ideas. I would urge you all to be wary of such ideas. We need someone who understands the ground situation and plans to that.


5 people like this
Posted by Laurie
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 15, 2016 at 12:52 pm

I have known Adrian Fine his entire life. He has grown into a thoughtful, insightful and caring young man. His visions for Palo Alto reflect what many of us cherished about Palo Alto. I have been a resident since 1975 and enjoyed raising my family in a dynamic diverse city. Now I find that my own children cannot afford to live here and that there is little opportunity for us to downsize and stay in Palo Alto as we age. Adrian's willingness and passion for tackling the issues that are squeezing both the young and aging populations are needed on our Council.


31 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 15, 2016 at 1:24 pm

I don't know who Adrian Fine is and I don't know much about his positions. But his ability to get all these "I love Adrian" posts here reminds me of the vanity book reviews one sometimes sees on Amazon - and is a little bit creepy at this stage in the CC campaign.. It makes this topic look like a campaign ad with hundreds of citizen endorsements. Clearly Mr. Fine already has a good communication infrastructure up and running. He may do well in the race, but as a long time Palo Altan the professional campaign tinge to Mr. Fine's campaign is a little off-putting. I liked it better when the city politics was mostly amateur, but then many of the things I moved her for are gone now and that I seem a little old fashioned to newer residents.


6 people like this
Posted by Sam Friedman
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 15, 2016 at 9:44 pm

Mary, I'm sorry if you find the support for Adrian Fine to be contrived and off-putting. His campaign is run by family and friends with no professional staff. The "communication infrastructure" that you reference was simply an email from the family to those of us who have known Adrian for many years. The individual responses posted here are heart felt from people who know Adrian and wish to state that he would be an excellent addition to the Palo Alto City Council.


5 people like this
Posted by Hal Plotkin
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 16, 2016 at 11:38 am

One of the wonderful things about Palo Alto -- and a reason we returned here after nearly six years in Washington, D.C. -- is the high level of citizen engagement in local politics. Democracy depends on participation. Palo Alto's political culture -- and this newspaper -- has long encouraged and honored that participation. It looks like we are going to have another excellent field of candidates in the upcoming city council election. I am not sure any of them can solve our perennial housing problem given the always limited supply and the virtually unlimited demand. But it will be great to hear that and other issues we explored by a thoughtful neighbors who love our town and want to make it better through public service. My hat is off to all the candidates! Thank you for stepping forward.


7 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 22, 2016 at 11:50 am

Elaine Uang supportd both Adrian Fine (Nextdoor community liaison) and Don McDougall, real estate investor. And PAForward supporters. Uang is on PAF's board.

No surprises here.


8 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 22, 2016 at 1:11 pm



I think transportation should be a bigger topic for this election. Everybody is talking about housing, but I don't hear very much from any prospective candidate about what they are going to do to improve public transit.

I agree that a 90 minute commute is not a good idea for anybody, but a 30 minute fast train or efficient bus service might make a good option. We have Caltrain which when it is electrified and service is improved can help. But there are other options that are not being discussed. Google and others are providing efficient bus services for commuters that use highways, but we don't even have buses to airports let alone for non Google employees to use. Efficient high quality buses that run along highway 101 with stops every 5 miles or so at an offramp parking lot, with efficient shuttle services to business areas, could be investigated as options.

VTA seems to think that they are only an option for lower income people who have all the time in the world to get around. Instead they should be improving efficiency as an alternative to solo driving. Where is the political pressure for them to investigate better options? In fact Palo Alto and Mountain View are completely disregarding them and working on their own shuttles. This is a piecemeal solution which doesn't help when people work in one town and live in the neighboring town but only 5 miles inbetween.

In fact, calling all these different places a "city" is a misnomer, in my opinion. They are townships within a regional urban (or suburban) metropolis. We have too many transit agencies, too many separate councils and too many invisible lines drawn which are barriers to integration of travel. It matters not whether working and living are close together but are separated by a city or county barrier making piecemeal decisions without taking any notice of the reality of people's lives.

I feel that improving transit is the key, but politically speaking a non-happening discussion


Like this comment
Posted by Val
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2016 at 10:23 pm

NO to Liz Kniss! She opposes airbnb in Palo Alto!


4 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 28, 2016 at 7:26 pm

Drain the swamp and get Liz out of politics.


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

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