Danielle Martell doesn't do candidate forums, kick-off parties, endorsement interviews or election questionnaires.
She doesn't attend City Council meetings any more and she doesn't fill out candidate questionnaires. She doesn't raise money or fill out campaign-finance statements. All that stuff is for the other candidates.
That's not to say, however, that she is shy about airing her views. Far from it. It's just that the subjects she wants to talk about -- the safety of children at the Rinconada swimming pool, illegal immigration, the problems with the Opportunity Center for the homeless and formerly unhoused -- are ones no one else is really paying attention to. And it's also because her favored mode of communicating with the public isn't City Hall forums or public hearings but emails that explain the problem and, in many cases, levy accusations against city officials who she believes have violated her constitutional rights.
In January 2015 she publicly called for the immediate replacement of Library Director Monique LeConge Ziesenhenne and filed a claim against the city, alleging that Ziesenhenne ignored her First Amendment rights. Martell similarly accused City Attorney Molly Stump of violating her constitutional rights for not granting her a "fair hearing" in connection with a July 2014 incident in which Martell was expelled from a local library. And in 2005, when Martell was in the midst of her only other council campaign, she struck a similar chord when she accused then-Police Chief Lynne Johnson of not respecting her -- and other Palo Alto residents' -- constitutional rights.
It's not just city officials who have allegedly trampled on her rights. In her view, the League of Women Voters is also guilty. Earlier this month, she declined to participate in a League of Women Voters candidates forum because she refuses to "support any group that disrespects our Constitution regardless of who they call themselves," as she explained in a statement. Specifically, she took issue with the way she had been treated in 2005, during her only prior council run (she finished ninth in a 12-candidate field that year). At the time, Martell alleges, the League "disgraced our founding Constitution by aggressive and repeated attempts to censor me."
Similarly, she didn't participate in the South Bay Labor Council's endorsement interviews. That's because the interviews were scheduled for the day before the official filing deadline, which opens the possibility of a last-second candidate being excluded. And, as she explained to the union in an email, it is "un-American to deny any candidate a level playing field."
But Constitutional rights aren't her only pressing concern. Like the other 10 candidates, she is gravely concerned about the high level of development. In an email to the Weekly, she said she has "found it heartbreaking to witness the City Council's systematic dismantlement of beautiful Palo Alto's charm, and their disregard for our precious heritage and resident wishes."
In lieu of interviews, Martell issued a position statement. He first proposed policy could have been proposed by any candidate with slow-growth leanings: "Stop citywide overdevelopment and our beautiful skylines from being blocked out forever, including maintaining walkable neighborhoods in which residents have access to a grocery store."
Then, things get somewhat eclectic: Martell calls for reforms of the city's administrative hearing and appeal process to ensure due process rights. She calls for restructuring the Opportunity Center, a homeless-services nonprofit that she calls a "city-sponsored clubhouse and magnet largely for intense addicts and transients overflowing from San Francisco."
She also proposes, as an emergency measure, protecting children by ensuring that there is one supervising adult near the public swimming pool at Rinconada Park.
In a position paper devoted to housing, Martell makes it clear that she doesn't like what she sees. Today's City Council, she wrote, "is turning Palo Alto into a monstrosity and grows increasingly numb to resident well-being and wishes."
"Unwanted city changes are coming fast and hard, and I don't like what's happening," Martell wrote. "I've never experienced so many residents, of all ages and backgrounds, so openly disgruntled."
To spur housing, she proposes relocating the city's railroad system underground and constructing two-story residences above the available property. To help finance this project, she proposes offering promotional advertising to high-tech giants like Google and Facebook. She even proposes selling naming rights to local Caltrain stations to companies, though she notes in her paper that because Palo Alto only has two stations, each may end up with hyphenated names. And because she is concerned about illegal immigrants taking local jobs (a subject of a September email to the council), housing would be offered only to citizens.
"This abundance of new affordable housing would exclude people with visas and permits, and include local seniors with citizenship, and Palo Alto firemen and police officers," she wrote.