News


Large checks boost campaigns of Kou, Keller

Palo Alto City Council candidates with slow-growth philosophies benefit from recent contributions

A handful of hefty contributions over the past week have provided a financial boost to Palo Alto City Council candidates Arthur Keller and Lydia Kou, more than doubling their campaign chests and lifting them to the top tier of the 11-person field when it comes to cash raised.

Kou and Keller, who tend to favor slow-growth policies and who have the same campaign manager (former parks commissioner Pat Markevitch), both benefited from contributions from resident Thomas Layton, a self-employed consultant who had also supported “residentialist” candidates Eric Filseth and Tom DuBois in their successful council bids two years ago. Layton contributed $6,000 each to Kou and Keller earlier this month.

The pair had also benefited from contributions from the Coxe family. Simone Coxe, a nonprofit executive, gave $6,000 to each campaign, while her husband Tench Coxe, a venture capitalist with Sutter Hill Ventures, contributed $900 to Kou. Tench Coxe had also supported DuBois and Filseth in the 2014 election (both DuBois and Filseth have endorsed Keller and Kou this time around).

Helyn MacLean, whose husband Asher Waldfogel serves on the city's planning commission (and donated to DuBois and Filseth in 2014), also contributed funds to both Kou and Keller earlier this month, writing a $6,000 check to each of them. And Mary Anne Baker, a retired journalist, contributed $6,500 each to Kou and Keller. Baker, a Crescent Park resident, spoke out in February against the spillover effects of downtown's permit-parking program and requested that the city limit parking in her neighborhood to residents only. The position is well-aligned with that of Kou, who favors resident-only parking programs on neighborhood streets.

Also contributing to both candidates were Michael Rantz and Paul Rantz. Their contributions to Keller and Kou totaled $7,000 each.

The sequence of unusually large checks in early October followed a period in which both Keller and Kou stood near the middle of the candidate pack in cash raised. At the end of September, when the two candidates filed their respective Forms 460, Keller reported a total of $24,075 received while Kou had $16,937 (the reporting period ended on Sept. 24). And while other council candidates have also received contributions since the September period, none except Keller and Kou have received checks greater than $1,000.

The recent infusion of more than $30,000 into Keller's and Kou's respective campaigns means there are five candidates now with more than $40,000 in total contributions received. It also means that Keller is now the leading recipient of campaign cash, having overtaken planning Commissioner Greg Tanaka, who led the field with $47,323 in total contributions at the end of the September reporting period.

Tanaka, for his part, has received another $7,000 since then, according to the campaign finance reports. This includes $1,000 donations from Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman and Google executive Matt Rogers. With the latest contributions taken into account, Keller has received $55,574 while Tanaka has received $54,323.

Councilwoman Liz Kniss, who finished September with $46,259 (which trailed only Tanaka), also received $1,000 since then, with her sole check coming from Stoppelman.

Adrian Fine, current chair of the planning commission, has also received more than $40,000 in campaign cash, some of it from himself. After finishing September with $35,707 in total contributions, Fine reported another $13,000 since then. This includes $10,000 that he gave to his own campaign, along with checks from Google's Rogers ($1,000) and economist Stephen Levy, co-founder of the citizens group Palo Alto Forward ($1,000). Sam Hawkes, an executive in the downtown firm King Asset Management, gave $1,000 to both Tanaka and to Fine.

Other candidates in the race -- Stewart Carl, Leonard Ely, John Fredrich, Danielle Martell, Don McDougall and Greer Stone -- have not filed any late-contribution statements.

Read more about the 11 council candidates in this week's cover story, Deciding Palo Alto's future

The Weekly has created a Storify page for its coverage on the Palo Alto City Council election.

Related articles:

Inform yourself through this archive of articles and videos about this fall's City Council campaign

• Videos of the candidates' endorsement interviews with the Palo Alto Weekly editorial board have been posted on YouTube.com

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Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Comments

47 people like this
Posted by Not a good sign
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 14, 2016 at 7:36 pm

It's not a good sign that Keller and Kou are relying on large checks from just a handful of donors. We've never had $6000 and $7000 checks before, much less candidates raising $14000 from a single family. I don't think it's good for Palo Alto. The other candidates are not taking such large donations.

Kou raised much more money last election without needing to rely on $14,000 from the Rantz family, which is almost as much as she raised from all her small donors this year. Why is her support so much smaller this cycle? Arthur Keller is well-known. Why isn't he able to raise from the donors who funded Kou last year?

It doesn't look good.


40 people like this
Posted by The Real Dark Money
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 14, 2016 at 7:55 pm

Dark Money does exist in Palo Alto politics. And this publication and the usually busy commentators on Town Square are complicit in supporting that dark money. This post spells everything out: Web Link

The 5 families donating almost $20k each to specific candidates (Kou/Keller) AND PASZ are the REAL DARK MONEY. And this includes the family of a sitting Planning and Transportation Commissioner! The question is WHY DIDN'T the Palo Alto Weekly didn't report the story this way and why didn't all the noisy commentators raise the significance? I can only imagine it's because they support the dark money and who it's going to.

We like to think democracy works in local government, but right now, Palo Alto is in a precarious position. The future of our city is at stake, and ideologues are controlling discourse and stifling the voices of others. The wealth of these 5 VC and technology families and biased local media are being used to preserve a "quality of life" that comes the expense of the masses. We can't let the cancer of dark money destroy and ossify our dynamic, vital, thriving city.


72 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 14, 2016 at 8:01 pm

Good. Maybe we'll start getting mail from candidates other than those endorsed by the all the various realtors groups. We joke that a day without Mark Berman's daily mailing is like a day without sunshine (to paraphrase a tacky menu quote about wine :-> )


42 people like this
Posted by Ms. Tan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 14, 2016 at 9:19 pm

Thank you for that information. Consequently, I will NOT vote for either Arthur Keller or Lydia Kou.


42 people like this
Posted by Disgusted
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 14, 2016 at 9:30 pm

30 year palo alto resident and this tells me my city has changed. Residentialists? Only if you're a millionaire. Keller and Kou will not be getting my support


18 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 14, 2016 at 9:38 pm

Casti, a private school with a great majority out of town student body, is attempting to control our local election process to inflience the outcome of the school's forthcoming construction development plan. Bad news for Keller and Kou, they lost my vote and probably votes of Old Palo Alto neighbors impacted by Castilleja.
post on Nextdoor.com:
Alert: 120 ft Redwood Tree removal
Kimberley Wong from Old Palo Alto
Castilleja submitted an application to the City of Palo Alto in June 2016 to propose a 30% enrollment increase and to rebuild most of the campus which will impact 168 trees including heritage oaks and redwoods. The project was on hold due to an incomplete application and the city is requiring a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR). However, City Planner Ms Amy French sent out the following notification at 5:06pm today that one of the 168 trees, a 120 ft Redwood is now classified as a hazardous tree to be destroyed.

"The following information regarding Castilleja School property is provided to you because you expressed interest in the property. Urban Forestry will be issuing an emergency removal permit today, October 12, 2016, for a 120 foot tall Redwood tree that has been determined by Castilleja’s registered consulting arborist and Urban Forestry staff to be ‘dangerous’, located on Castilleja School property at 1235 Emerson. The Urban Forestry staff verified the dangerous conditions in the field, and reviewed the report by Michael L. Bench dated September 22, 2016. This removal is allowed pursuant to the City’s Tree Ordinance, Palo Alto Municipal Code 8.10.050, and Tree Technical Manual 4.00, Hazardous Trees. This removal is not associated with the Castilleja School expansion. The Emergency Tree Removal process set forth in the City’s municipal code does not require replacement of the tree. The arborist’s report of September 22nd is found on the City’s webpage for the Castilleja School Expansion at Web Link.... "

I am not an arborist and I don't have the knowledge to comment if or how hazardous this tree is. However, one has to wonder about the coincidence that a tree targeted for removal in Castilleja's original June application to make room for an underground garage suddenly requires "Emergency Tree Removal". I just hope that the other 167 trees will not share the same fate.
If you would like to see the number of trees impacted by this project, please refer to the following: Web Link...
Castilleja School - City of Palo Alto


37 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 14, 2016 at 9:45 pm

Just to explain my post above - all these large contributors to Keller and Kou have affiliations to Castilleja as reported by Jen Nowell in today's PA Daily Post.

Layton is on Casti's Board
MacLean is married to a former Casti trustee
Rants on Casti's Investment Committee
others have children at Casti

Kou and Keller, you lost my vote


33 people like this
Posted by Jane
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 14, 2016 at 9:49 pm

This is insane. Thank you weekly for publishing. I thought Arthur and Lydia had some good points, but now their hypocrisy shows.


90 people like this
Posted by Pro-growth hypocrites
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 14, 2016 at 9:58 pm

It's not a secret that residentialist candidates like Kou and Keller didn't get any of the big developer checks that the PAF & grow-at-all-costs candidates have been getting for some time. Residentialists represent regular residents like most of us who want to preserve some quality of life in our neighborhoods, and now that some generous residents have stepped forward to support them to level the playing field, I'm disgusted at the accusations that the pro-growth camp is coming up with to discredit them.

@Fellow residents, please make sure you know which candidates will better represent us, vs. those representing the interests of big donors who don't even live in our town, but will benefit handsomely from any new development projects. And stay away from candidates who suddenly become last-minute residentialists to get your vote. Some of us were duped by a couple of them in the last election.


35 people like this
Posted by PACs in Palo Alto
a resident of University South
on Oct 14, 2016 at 10:14 pm

What seems just as relevant is that the same people are donating $5k each to PASZ. It's clear now that Kou and Keller are running as the PASZ slate.

I liked Arthur Keller. This is disappointing.


32 people like this
Posted by Who is buying Palo Alto
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 14, 2016 at 10:16 pm

Wow. So all this talk of modest money being raised by genuine candidates who care about our community is... just talk... There are clearly other interests being represented here. I am definitely going to look into this special group and try and figure out what and whom they are trying to influence and protect.
For now, it is safe to say that I will not be voting for Keller or a Kou on a resedentialist ticket. It is clear they are representing another wealthy group and they have managed to full us all. It may not be developers but it is certainly not regular folks. I know I could not write checks like that and most of my neighbors could not either. So who is it this time trying to buy Palo Alto?
I'm pretty sure this had never happened in this city before. So sad...


12 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 14, 2016 at 10:24 pm

Now I wonder if all of this was Casti's plan all along, to orchestrate giving these anti development candidates huge sums of money in unison through their board members in an attempt to evoke outrage with Palo Altans and squash these two candidate's chances of winning the election. All of this was extremely well planned and then promptly and maticulously reported in our local papers.


45 people like this
Posted by Sean
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 14, 2016 at 10:27 pm

To give these folks the benefit of the doubt, and to do the same for the candidates getting some $ from developers, how about we assume those cancel each other out and return to evaluating the candidates based on their qualifications, experience, and demonstrated intellect. Certainly each one will bring in some set of positions but who has the background to do the job in the way that it was meant to be done? By listening, synthesizing and deciding based on data and logic.


63 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 14, 2016 at 10:38 pm

This is quite silly to try to generate fake outrage as an to attempt to sway the election. I'm shocked that there might actually be some money counter-balancing all the money from pro-development interests which has flooded in for their chosen candidates for years...


78 people like this
Posted by anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 14, 2016 at 10:47 pm

These contributions to these 2 candidates now bring their campaign donations to approximate parity with several other council candidates. It is hardly "dark money" given the source is known and noted in this article.

I have seen no prior comments by anyone wringing their hands over how much money Kniss or Fine or Tenaka have raised for their campaigns or how. Both Tenaka and Fine, as of 10/1, each got about 1/3 of their donations from developers who no doubt look forward to profiting from their pro-big development positions. Additionally, Fine gets over 25% of his money from out of town donors - just look at the campaign finance statements they submitted and you will see this is so.

Yet no one has complained about them or said they won't vote for them because of where they get their money and from whom. So it's pretty hypocritical to criticize Palo Alto donors for leveling the playing field by contributing to candidates campaigns as they compete against candidates financed by a substantial amount out of town and developer money. Keller and Kou will work for the residents of Palo Alto, not for out of town interests and developers.

Finally, if you are thinking of voting for Tenaka, first watch his palo alto weekly interview in which he makes it all too clear, the longer you watch, that we should not entrust him with a vote on the city council to decide policy for us and our city. Google: youtube greg tenaka interview


25 people like this
Posted by True Residentialist
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 14, 2016 at 11:11 pm

So, Kou and Keller, "grassroots" candidates, seem to be caught with their hand in the Big Money cookie jar. I guess they are going to be opposed to development except if it involves the rich parents at Casti?

The $60,000+ that they raised from a handful of families has been matched by almost $30,000 to the PASZ PAC itself, from the same moneyed families.

[Portion removed.] Expect a lot more lit pieces in the next few weeks, folks.

Sad.


21 people like this
Posted by Rich Girls School Buying Election?
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 14, 2016 at 11:37 pm

Gennady seems to be tiptoeing around the real story here. Perhaps because his publisher has already chosen a side in this fight or isn't giving him license to run his story to ground.

1) A bunch of these donors have a connection, and some are board members at Castilleja, which is trying to expand. In the words of Marge Gunderson, "Kind of a coincidence, dontcha think?"

2) There are donations not only to the two candidates, but to the PASZ PAC itself. Those add at least $30k to the total but for some reason G has never mentioned those donations in his articles, even though the connection to the campaigns is obvious. That brings the total to more like $90,000, which is double what the leading candidates have each raised.

3) The Palo Alto Daily Post scooped the Palo Alto Weekly on this by a full day. And they focused much more on the curious Casti connection.


25 people like this
Posted by don't get it
a resident of Mayfield
on Oct 14, 2016 at 11:54 pm

Why would those affiliated with Casti necessarily prefer residentialists vs PAF sympathizers? Perhaps they have personal connections with the candidates or members of their families.


24 people like this
Posted by Open your eyes
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 15, 2016 at 12:36 am

Hallelujah! Let the truth be known. Kou and Keller are owned by a PAC! PASZ - a POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE. This article reads like a hasty response to the Post article. You were caught with your pants down Weekly for not reporting on this and thereby knowingly deceiving this community about the dark money that is flowing into this election.

Shame on you Weekly for your ongoing biased reporting. You talk of slow growth vs pro growth as if this is an abortion debate. Medical science, the Supreme Court, and common sense dictate a 6-week old embryo is not a "life" yet the movement behind it is pro-life. Just like here where the Weekly consistently refers to this slate as slow growth but they really are NO growth.
And referring to folks who truly do believe in sustainable growth as pro growth is maddening.

I'm voting party lines on this one. Democrat endorsed candidates: Kniss Tanaka McDougall Fine. I've met them all and they are definitely not a slate. As in they each have their own positions and proposals and clearly exercise independent judgment. I am more confident these 4 will make balanced decisions. Kou and Kelller appear beholden to dark money.


80 people like this
Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2016 at 12:36 am

The real story here is how the PAF contingent have mobilized to swamp Weekly stories on their pet issue: build baby build. They seem to think that if they make a lot of repetitive posts with their outrageous claims, that the residents will somehow forget what they have done to our town. One of the most laughable claims they keep making is that PASZ is some deep pocket PAC. Seriously? It's called democracy. A bunch of neighbors who meet because they care about Palo Alto not becoming Palantirville, or whatever overbuilt city PAF is pushing. They pool money to help candidates get lawn signs. They have less money to spend usually than the Barron Park neighborhood association.

Kou and Keller stand for intelligent analysis of growth and *gasp* quality of life.

Keller and Kou are the two most highly qualified candidates, especially in terms of how much they have given to the community in sheer volunteer power. I haven't seen any PAF types working for emergency safety, raising funds for schools, or organizing major community-building events (build-baby-build events, in which they tell everyone how "positive" they are while smearing and slamming residents, don't count).

If you are referring to a "slate", Kou, Keller, Carl, and Stone seem to be the preferred list. That's who I will be voting for.


17 people like this
Posted by True Residentialist
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 15, 2016 at 12:41 am

@Palo Altan

Wow, have you even read the campaign finance reports, or even read the articles about them published here?

Basically six people with very deep pockets are financing the entirety of the Kou/Keller campaign. There's no similar group of local oligarchs financing any of the four Democratic endorsed candidates. Read the reports for yourself and you'll see.



64 people like this
Posted by Mike
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 15, 2016 at 12:53 am

Fine, Tanaka, McDougall, and Knizz get nearly all the pro-developer money. They also get money from outside Palo Alto. That Yelp CEO donated to Tanaka is very telling. Yelp CEO funds the SF Bay Area Renter's Federation that recently sued the City of Lafayette for not building a massive high density housing project, which the residents and council had rejected. Players outside Lafayette and developers trying to force the hand of residents and council. Web Link We don't want that in Palo Alto. I'm glad to see that some residents, who actually live in Palo Alto, are challenging these forces by leveling the financial playing field. Maybe they've figured out which candidates have consistently favored residents over developers and for more reasonable growth in the wake of so much traffic and congestion in Palo Alto. Although Fine now claims he's for reasonable growth, his track record on the PTC is decidedly pro-development and hostile to single family homeowners.


12 people like this
Posted by Ms. Tan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 15, 2016 at 12:59 am

To: Rich Girls School Buying Election?
i completely agree with your statements.

To: Anon
You stated, "So it's pretty hypocritical to criticize Palo Alto donors for leveling the playing field by contributing to candidates campaigns as they compete against candidates financed by a substantial amount out of town and developer money. Keller and Kou will work for the residents of Palo Alto, not for out of town interests and developers." No one is criticizing PA donors, just pointing out where the money is coming from and for what agenda. PA Daily Post had an excellent and detailed story in today's paper making the connection between the large money donors to Keller and Kou and Castilleja.

To: don't get it:
When donors give over $30K to candidates, it is most likely to influence a favorable Castilleja's expansion vote. I don't like this kind of politics. I suggest you read PA Daily Post front page detailing the connection.

Keller lost my vote and I was not planning to vote for Kou anyhow.


22 people like this
Posted by has this ever happened before??
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 15, 2016 at 8:08 am

There's no way to spin this. It is completely absurd that FIVE venture capitalists each put $20k into a CITY election. And, they each made identical small donations before the September 29 filing deadline, and split their gifts between the PASZ PAC and the candidates [portion removed.]

@Gennady: has anything like this ever happened in Palo Alto?


74 people like this
Posted by Give me a break
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 15, 2016 at 8:14 am

These faux posters are so upset by a $6K check from an individual that "Keller and Kou lost my vote". Give me a break, I doubt you had any intention of voting for them. Were is your outrage about contributions to the PAF candidates?

This election is not about contributions, it is about issues. Who will best protect the quality of life in Palo Alto? On that issue, Keller, Kou, Stone, and Carl win hands down. It isn't even close...


20 people like this
Posted by has this ever happened before?? (part 2)
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 15, 2016 at 8:17 am

one more interesting note. This article describes "Mary Ann Baker" as a "retired journalist" (who just happened to sink $20k into a local race).

Mary Ann Baker is the wife of Len Baker, Managing Director of a large VC (Sutter Hill, the same place as the Coxes). She is a major Republican donor. She gave maximum contributions to Republican Senate and Governor races in Ohio, Nevada, Utah, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin (where she's supporting Ron Johnson against Russ Feingold). Those are just the amounts reported by these campaigns. Given that she's also donating to the PASZ PAC, what do you want to bet that they're pouring big money into the Republican PACs?

again, who thought this was a good idea??


71 people like this
Posted by Good news
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 15, 2016 at 8:40 am

This is good news. Normally it is difficult to find large donors outside of the special-interest arena, which is how special interests: developers/corporations/unions are able to run wild over taxpayers/residents/citizens. It's great that somebody has stepped up as a counterweight to all the developer cash that has poured into the PAF backed candidates.

This publication made a huge mistake during the last cycle when its endorsement probably tipped the scales and gave us 4 years of Cory Wolbach, who took about 4 minutes to drop his "civility" platform and advocate for growth at every turn (even opposing slowing office supply while bemoaning the jobs/housing ratio).

This election features another ultra-growth, Wolbach like contingent, all of whom are trying to sound moderate during election season. lets hope this publication and the public won't be head faked again.


77 people like this
Posted by Sam
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 15, 2016 at 8:46 am

Did we just enter an alternative reality? Conspiracy theorists want us to believe that Keller and Kou have now dropped everything they believe in and have done a 180? You have got to be kidding.
Given the long track record of both of supporting neighborhoods and residents, and given how well known both are in the community for their integrity and commitment, these blind accusations are silly nonesense.
And to the person commenting that people out dropping their flyers are paid - you are wrong and should stop making stuff up. I helped put the leaflets together and went door to door in one area as did tons of others volunteers all over town.


36 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 15, 2016 at 10:09 am

Mike's excellent post about Yelp's CEO suing to force cities to densify reminds me of Yelp's history in Palo Alto.

Remember how they lobbied long and hard to get approval to densify College Terrace and to replace JJ&F with another grocer?

Remember the huge pres brouhaha a few years ago about Yelp underpaying their workers so badly they were forced to eat ramen and the viscous personal attacks on the woman worker complaining while he was regularly featured hobnobbing in his tux with the Gettys, the Trainas, politicians and developers

Did Mr. Stoppelman decide to give the workers a raise? Nope. He simply changed his pr spin and blamed the high cost of living in the Bay Area and pulled out of his College Terrace plans.

Then he left Palo Alto with years of city planning expenses, no grocery story, a very ugly building and a new tradition of ugly personal attacks!

Yelp CEO responds to employee's open letter about low wages
Web Link

Re funding purity tests, yesterday's mailing from "Democrat" Mark Berman was from the Republican Party! Enough with the labels and rhetoric. Look at the real positions!


75 people like this
Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 15, 2016 at 10:21 am

@Fake residentialost,

I know Lydia Kou from her community work, so I know your charges are just false attacks on the best candidate in the field.

I only know Arthur Keller from his work because I am an involved citizen.

Most of both campaigns is grass roots. I have nothing to give this time around. I know with absolute certainty because of the kind of person she is that this has no bearing on how Lydia Kou represents me. I am grateful for others who will help with the basic costs of a council election. What candidates like Kou stand for is open, and their record of community involvement clear. Your attacks are out of line.


46 people like this
Posted by Red Herring
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 15, 2016 at 10:34 am

There's money from the rich girls' school on both sides of this equation. Martignetti, former board chair and a developer, as well as others are pitching in for the other side. And if I were the school, I'd be backing the rampant growth guys, not the 'residentialists'. Whoever came up with that crazy conspiracy theory hasn't thought it through.


8 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 15, 2016 at 10:39 am

[Post removed due to inaccurate assertion.]


46 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 15, 2016 at 11:24 am

Just recalled some excellent investigative reporting about how the outgoing city council fought to reduce the number of city council members so they could stack the decks for hypergrowth and name only hypergrowth candidates to the Planning and Transportation Committee. I don't vote for candidates indebted to The Chamber of Commerce, developers, realtor associations, PAF, the Yelp Ceo, the Palentir Ceo, the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, etc. etc.

I certainly don't vote for candidates who support and fund laughable "incredibly biased" push polls that LIE that the Mayor wants to ban all tech jobs and take the city back to the 1950s. I don't support those who blatantly and transparently lie to push their agendas.

I judge the individual candidates by their positions and wish I had more money to give to Keller, Kuo, Geer, Stone and Friedrich who support sensible zoning, quality of life, cost-effective city government and managing our bloated city government.


84 people like this
Posted by Helyn MacLean
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 15, 2016 at 11:56 am

I support Arthur Keller, Lydia Kou and Greer Stone for City Council. I was appalled by Kate Downing’s deceptive letter of resignation from the Planning Commission and the attacks on the City and Pat Burt. My donations to Arthur Keller and Lydia Kou are the single largest donations to any campaign that I have ever made. I made them because I have lived in Palo Alto for 25 years. I like its suburban, college town character. I’m afraid that we are in danger of losing that. Many candidates seem to be supporting growth to benefit large corporations and developers. When they speak of affordable housing, they are talking about making housing affordable for tech workers (average starting salary over $150,000) not teachers, non-profit employees, or Whole Foods workers. In fact, Kate Downing and Palo Alto Forward have argued that requiring developers to include affordable housing in new developments is wrong because it makes the other units more expensive. As for Castilleja, I have no intention of lobbying any council member in support of its current proposal or any future proposal. I’m supporting candidates who are the best choice to achieve sensitive, positive growth for the city.


71 people like this
Posted by Residentialist Thank You
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 15, 2016 at 12:21 pm

Thank you for the residentialist donors who stepped up to counter-balance the developers who are trying to buy this election so they can get free upzoning and over develop downtown Palo Alto. The pro-fast-growth crowd claims are the sooo hypocritical. Arthur Keller and Lydia Kou have high integrity and are truthfully representing their positions vs. other candidates like Adrian Fine who is running on a platform that directly contradicts many statements he has made over the last two years.


4 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 15, 2016 at 12:55 pm

"I made them because I have lived in Palo Alto for 25 years."

That says a lot.

"Many candidates seem to be supporting growth to benefit large corporations and developers. When they speak of affordable housing, they are talking about making housing affordable for tech workers (average starting salary over $150,000) not teachers, non-profit employees, or Whole Foods workers. "

Really. Your approach to affordable housing actually chokes off middle-class housing faster than anything else. Someone like you will always be able to afford a place here in Palo Alto and the people that qualify for BMRs will too.

That leaves the middle class screwed. Like San Francisco.

[Portion removed.]


45 people like this
Posted by casti nonsense
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 15, 2016 at 1:23 pm

I doubt that there's anything insidious going on here. Many wealthy families in Palo Alto choose to send their daughters to Casti. Those with more money are able to contribute more to political campaigns. Families with kids in MS or HS are more likely to be long-time residents who prefer a balanced approach to growth, provided they aren't CEOs of tech companies seeking housing for their young workers in Palo Alto.


41 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 15, 2016 at 1:29 pm

Today's well-fuded mailings: one supporting Measure B while failing to mention the increased sales tax and another entitled "Democratic Voting Guide" but "PAID FOR by Re-elect Liz Kniss, Adrian Fine for City Council, Greg Tanaka for Palo Alto City Council, McDougall for City Council."

Not a single word about the main contentious issues separating the candidates' position: gridlock, density, offices, housing, transportation, government waste, bloated salaries, glacial, costly and/or failed transportation "improvements, the notorious Palo Alto "process" etc etc.

Helyn MacClean, thank you for your contribution, your post above and your long-standing commitment to this community. That does indeed "say a lot" and to me it's cause for congratulations, not another implied ageist generational attack.


43 people like this
Posted by Residentialist
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 15, 2016 at 1:31 pm

@Me Stacking and packing high rise micro unit at $3,500 - $6,000 a month isn't going to solve the affordability crisis. Units for that are available for rent right now in Palo Alto. It will however, make developers a boatload of money from getting free upzoning under the smoke screen of affordability. I see you don't want to cut into their profit margin by requiring BMR units for folks who make more modest incomes. Funny you blame SF's housing affordability crisis on BMR units and not the influx of tech companies. SF has far superior public transportation and is zoned for density still has a housing crisis as well so implying if we upzone and do more with public transportation our affordability issues will be solved is already disproven. The only real solution is for tech companies to become more geographically diversified.


10 people like this
Posted by Btw
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 15, 2016 at 1:47 pm

Btw is a registered user.

It is ILLEGAL, under California law, to remove heritage oak trees, period. Many are 350-500 years old!

The VA gets away with it because federal law trump ( no pun intended) state law.


6 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 15, 2016 at 2:09 pm

@Residentalist - Lots of things to unpack here

"Stacking and packing high rise micro unit at $3,500 - $6,000 a month isn't going to solve the affordability crisis. Units for that are available for rent right now in Palo Alto. It will however, make developers a boatload of money from getting free upzoning under the smoke screen of affordability. I see you don't want to cut into their profit margin by requiring BMR units for folks who make more modest incomes. "

Want to know how come those "micro units" (which are not micro by anyone else's definition except a residentalist) are so much? It's because of the regulations in place and people like you, without any experience in architecture or zoning, who want to micromanage someone else's property.

These hinderances make building in Palo Alto so expensive. Developers (or any business, large and small) don't eat the cost of anything. They get passed along to customers until the customers think the product is too expensive and no one wants to buy.

t's not the developer that "subsidizes" BMRs - it's the other people not in BMRs that do.

Do you work for free? No? Then why are you asking others to work for free? Come back to me when you actively reduce your own salary because someone else says you make too much money.
Didn't think so.

i
"Funny you blame SF's housing affordability crisis on BMR units and not the influx of tech companies."

Affordability crisis has been in San Francisco for a long time - long before this 2005 when this boom started - thanks to NIBMY forces like Aaron Peskin's Telegraph Hill Dwellers association, aligned with rent control advocates that fear the reduction of rental units. The middle class has been driven out of San Francisco because of they make too much for BMRs and not enough to pay 7 figures for housing.

"SF has far superior public transportation and is zoned for density still has a housing crisis as well so implying if we upzone and do more with public transportation our affordability issues will be solved is already disproven."

Zoned for density? Have you spent any time in the Outer Sunset? Pacific Heights? Zoned for density? I lived there for 10 years. Sorry - bulk 40 feet height limit is NOT zoned for density. What's been disproven is your fact-less statement that it has been disproven.

"The only real solution is for tech companies to become more geographically diversified."

Already happening. That started back in the early 2000s when everyone started offshoring to India. I guess in your mind it is better to send jobs overseas than to help Americans.


27 people like this
Posted by Residentialist
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 15, 2016 at 3:32 pm

@Me the $3,000 to $6,000 is what it costs to rent a 600 plus square foot studio/one-bedroom in San Antonio Shopping Center in Mt. View. Blaming that cost on me is incorrect since I've never had anything to do with it or Mountain View. I do understand the "hinderances make building in Palo Alto so expensive" include those pesky environmental and safety regulations and having to provide parking for the occupants cars instead of turning our neighborhoods into employee parking lots (oh wait that's already happened). The argument that BMR cost is passed onto consumers in this market is fictitious. How many real-estate agents are currently selling based on cost and taking any less than the most they can sell for? BMR units create a more economically diverse community instead of just tech workers but do cut into developers large profit margins. The real problem is office space is even more profitable, which is why so much Palo Alto office space has been getting built and thereby creating scarcity of housing and driving up the price per square foot. The same folks who are now clamoring for stack and pack housing (e.g. PAF) were busy fighting the office cap previously and their predecessors like Liz Kniss helped approve many of these under parked office developments. With SF, I'm glad you agree SF already has much better public transportation and that has not solved the affordable housing issue. Parts of SF are quite dense and well above 40 feet building heights and that has not solved the problem. It sounds like your solution is convert the remaining non-high density portions of SF to high density ignoring transportation issues since developing downtown into high density did not work for San Francisco to create affordable housing. If that's the case then maybe you'll target the single family residential neighborhoods in Palo Alto once downtown is fully over developed. Lastly the attempt to correlate high bay area housing prices to offshoring the jobs to India, ignores the fact that there are plenty of places in the US that tech companies can spread out to including, e.g. Austin, Denver, Raleigh/Durham, or even San Jose. Urban densification was sold to us as part of the industrial revolution and for the most part has been debunked but in the technology revolution we work in a distributed manner with folks across the globe.


5 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 15, 2016 at 4:53 pm

[Portion removed.]

"The argument that BMR cost is passed onto consumers in this market is fictitious."

Fiction is in the eye of the beholder. If you've ever run a business, you understand that costs get passed directly to the customer. You probably believe that "taxes" or living wages are also eaten by the business - sorry, Econ 101 tells you that the end consumer pays all the accumulated taxes and costs to create the product or service.

"BMR units create a more economically diverse community instead of just tech workers but do cut into developers large profit margins. "

BMR is just another result of unintended consequences from Prop 13 and other things that causes additional unintended consequences. Sure it's more diverse than a bunch of VCs and people who were lucky enough to have their company IPO or get acquired. But BMRs do not allow for teachers, firefighters or any what we would call "middle class" to buy them. They make too much money. Did I read from a different thread that PAUSD teachers can make 6 figures? I don't think I've ever heard of a BMR for someone that makes $100K.

"Parts of SF are quite dense and well above 40 feet building heights and that has not solved the problem."

Yes, only parts. In fact the majority of the city is still under the 40 ft bulk height restriction. But you know the funny thing? They are building. In fact, new condo prices have come down recently. Interesting - demand and supply actually hold in San Francisco.

"If that's the case then maybe you'll target the single family residential neighborhoods in Palo Alto once downtown is fully over developed."

Yes we should. But right now there is a ton of infill space available in downtown and California Avenue that has yet to be developed. We're not even close to "overdeveloping" downtown.

"Lastly the attempt to correlate high bay area housing prices to offshoring the jobs to India, ignores the fact that there are plenty of places in the US that tech companies can spread out to including, e.g. Austin, Denver, Raleigh/Durham, or even San Jose. "

Hey, you're the one trying to use the argument for geographic diversification, not me. And, yes, companies like Google, Apple and Facebook all have offices out there too. So, what's your point?


13 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 15, 2016 at 5:15 pm

@me Did I read from a different thread that PAUSD teachers can make 6 figures? I don't think I've ever heard of a BMR for someone that makes $100K.

Here you go. There are more but I don't want to use up Palo Alto Online's quota to find you all the other articles.


Palo Alto May Build Subsidized Housing for Families Who Make $250K
Web Link

Palo Alto considers subsidized housing for families making under $250,000
Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Me
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 15, 2016 at 5:44 pm

@Onine Name - I heard of that already - I'll believe it when I see it. I was talking about a thread that was specific to schools or teachers unions.


27 people like this
Posted by number of contributors?
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 15, 2016 at 6:48 pm

What I'd like to know is the NUMBER of contributors to each campaign. This will indicate how broad their support is in the community. My guess would be that Kou and Keller would lead the pack in that regard.


Like this comment
Posted by LMGTFY
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 15, 2016 at 8:26 pm

@ number of contributors?

It's all listed on the campaign finance reports, online. You can count them yourself and report back to us.


8 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 15, 2016 at 11:43 pm

Contributions through Sept. 24
Keller/Kou $90K donations by 5 Casti families were made in October and will be reported in a few weeks.

July 1, 2016 through September 24, 2016
Adrian Fine for Council 2016
Connett Ahart $500
Zachary Alberico $100
Mike Alcheck $100
Mehdi Alhassani $500
Amie Ashton $100
Betsy Bechtel $100
Sean Biederman $402*
Aubrey Blanche $100
Lloyd Bosley $200
Amanda Brown $250
Owen Byrd $250
Brian Carilli $250
Amy Chan $99
William Courington $100
Jaime D'Alessandro $500
Wilhelmus de Groot $250
Evan Doll $100
Yekaterina Downing $1,000
Peter Drekmeier $50
Kathy Durham $100
Matt Ekstrom $100
Peter Emanuel $100
Nicole Fernandez $99
Adrian Fine $5059*
Gary Fine $2,550
Michael Fine $200
Sarah Fine $100
Roger Fisher $100
Samuel Friedman $318
Daniel Garber $999
Robert Giannini $500
Chip Gibbs $500
Terry Godfrey $100
Jon Goldman $250
Michael Greenfeld $500
George Grohwin $100
Brent Gullixson $100
Cora Haussecker $2,635*
Wes Henderson $100
Urs Hoelzle $999
Jane Huang $550
A. C. Johnston $500
David Keefer $50
John Kelley $150
Larry Klein $250
Roberto Krutiansky $360
Huey Kwik $149
Nancy Levy $500
Stephen Levy $500
Carol and Lee Lippert $260*
Titi Liu $250
Peter Maresca $300
Stephanie Martinson $100
Felicia McGrew $500
Mark Michael $100
David and Jane Moss $54
Clayton Nall $50
Ilya Nepomnyashchiy $200
Victor Ojakian $50
Nicholas Panagotacos $500
Josh Powell $100
Stephen Raney $100
Roxy Rapp $1,000
Stephen Reller $2,500
Susie Richardson $100
Susan Rosenberg $250
Greg Scharff $980
Jerry Schwarz $75
Nancy Shepherd $100
Daniel Skehan $250
Sandra Slater $200
Alice Smith $51
Roger Smith $300
Tod Spieker $500
Bruce and Barbara Swenson $100
Vamsi Tabjulu $100 Garry Tan $250
Victoria Thorp $100
Elaine Uang $500
Jane Uyvova $1,128*
Lisa Van Dusen $150
Kate VanZanten $100
Andrew Wong $500
*Non-monetary contributions included

July 1, 2016 through September 24, 2016
Arthur Keller for City Council 2016
Allen Akin $500
Daniel Armistead $150
Mary Anne Baker $900
Fred & Anne Balin $100
William Bauriedel $100
Norman Beamer $100
Malcom Beasley $400
Dorothy Bender $100
Irv Brenner $75
Neilson Buchanan $777
Betty Jo Chang $250
Vicky Ching $250
Ronald Chun $75
LaDoris Cordell $250
Jennifer Couperus $100
Nancy Couperus $100
Simone Coxe $450
Tench Coxe $450
Peter Drekmeier $50
Tom DuBois $100
Susan Dunn $100
William Eidson $50
Bruce Feldstein $180
Len Filppu $100
Eric Filseth $250
Charmaine Furman $200
Daniel Garber $999
Annette Glankopf $75
Michael Griffin $500
Beth Guislin $100
Robert Harrington $100
Margaret Heath $100
Joseph Hirsch $990
Hamilton Hitchings $250
Michael Hodos $100
Thomas Holzemer $200
Thomas Jordan $500
Suzanne Keehn $150
Arthur Keller $858*
Luba Keller $100
Yoriko Kishimoto $250
Tim Knuth $200
Judith Koch $900
Gabrielle Layton $900
Thomas Layton $900
Leon Leong $100
Benjamin Lerner $100
Cheryl Lilienstein $500
Michael Lowy $50
Ruth Lowy $50
Paul Machado $100
Helyn MacLean $500
Patricia Markevitch $100
Patricia Marriott $100
Joyce McClure $500
Elaine Meyer $250
Robert Moss $100
Mark Nadim $50
Indu Navar $999
Enid Pearson $100
Christian Pease $250
Harlan Pinto $100
Rainer Pitthan $100
Michael Rantz $500
Paula Rantz $900
William Reller $100
Emily Renzel $50
Beth Rosenthal $500
Robert Roth $100
Sally-Ann Rudd $500
Ruth Satterthwaite $100
Gregory Schmid $200
Kathleen Segura $200
Jeannie Stephens $50
Ted Stephens $50
Rich Stiebel $100
Emily & Jim Thurber $100
Ching-hua Tosky $50
Thomas Vician $50
Rita Vrhel $500
Asher Waldvogel $500
Mingxia Zhang $50
*Non-monetary contributions included

July 1, 2016 through September 24, 2016
Don McDougall for Palo Alto City Council 2016
Gail Bernardin $100
Aubrey Blanche $50
Jayne Booker $50
Michelle Brokaw $100
Mark Bronder $750
Owen Byrd $100
Tom Collins $50
Anne Dauer $100
Daniel Garber $999
Jon Goldman $250
Doug Hagan $100
Michael Havern $100
Jane Huang $600
A.C. Johnston $500
Robin Kennedy $250
Larry Klein $250
Janet Kluczynski $250
Huey Kwik $150
Eileen Landauer $100
Nancy Lecy $500
Stephen Levy $500
Don McDougall $15,100
Katherine McDougall $500
Felicia McGrew $400
Paul; Podrid $50
Greg Scharff $975
Barbara Shapiro $100
Amy Sung $250
Bruce & Barbara Swenson $500
Victoria Thorp $100
Sally Tomlinson $50
Mary Beth Train $50
Elaine Uang $500
Ellen Uhrbrock $100
Lisa Van Dusen $150
Holly Ward $100
Bob Wenzlau $50
*Non-monetary contributions included

July 1, 2016 through September 24, 2016
Elect Len for Palo Alto City Council
Leonard Ely $2,500
*Non-monetary contributions included
July 1, 2016 through September 24, 2016
Elect Lydia Kou for Palo Alto City Council 2016
Allen Akin $500
Mary Anne Baker $900
Norm Beamer $100
Malcom Beasely $400
Irv Brenner $75
Neilson Buchanan $893*
Ronald Chun $200
Teru Clavel $100
Jim Colton $100
Nancy Couperus $100
Tench Cox $450
Simone Coxe $450
Dan DeCamp $50
Tom DuBois $100
Eric Filseth $250
Diane Finklestein $50
D. Michael Griffin $500
Kevin Hauk $100
Michael Hodos $100
Terrance Holzemer $100
George Huang $500
James Jordan $500
Tim Knuth $200
Judith Koch $900
Gabrielle Layton $900
Thomas Layton $900
Ben Lerner $100
Cheryl Lillienstein $500
Helyn Maclean $500
Pat Markevitch $100
Pat Marriott $100
Joyce McClure $100
Christian Pease $200
Rainer Pitthan $100
Michael Rantz $500
Paula Rantz $900
Beth Rosenthal $500
William Ross $200
Ruth Satterthwaite $200
Kathy Segura $200
Geri Spieler $50
Tina Tang $100
Lazlo Tokes $1,000
Thomas vicien $50
Rita Vrhel $999
Rene Wood $100
Jean Wrenn $600
Zeqing Xia $100
*Non-monetary contributions included

July 1, 2016 through September 24, 2016
Greer Stone for City Council 2016
Melissa Baxter $100
Karen Holman $150
Gab Layton $900
Thomas Layton $900
Jose Oropeza $100
Adriana Oropeza-Gamez $1,000
Emily Renzel $100
*Non-monetary contributions included

July 1, 2016 through September 24, 2016
Re-Elect Liz Kniss for City Council 2016
R Steinberg A Erber $100
Margaret Abe-Koga $100
Anna Eshoo For CongressED# C00258475 $250
Monica Arima $50
Carol Bacchetti $100
Norman Beamer $100
Betsy Bechtel $100
Joanne Benjamin $100
Aubrey Blanche $50
Owen Byrd $100
California League of Conservation Voters $250
Gerald Carisch $100
Phyllis & Richard Cassel $200
Melissa & Baten Caswell $200
Fran Codispoti $100
Tom Collins $210
Alison Cormack $250
James Cunneen $250
John & Patricia Davis $100
Jean Dawes $100
Wilhelmus de Groot (Sung) $250
Marty & Judy Deggeller $100
Guy & Jan DiJulio $250
Dennis & Cindy Dillon $100
Wynne Furth Don Brennels $100
Diane Doolittle $100
Steven Dostart $250
Peter Drekmeier $50
Soledad Dykwel $50
Ellen & Tom Ehrlich $150
Penny & Richard Ellson $50
Shirley Ely $250
Annette Fazzino $100
Tom & Nancy Fiene $100
Catherine Crystal Foster $150
Michael Fox $300
Bob & Betty French $100
Dan Garber $999
Patricia Gardner $50
Bruce & Jane Gee $350
Betty Gerard $50
Robert Giannini $500
Linda Gill $50
Davi9d Ginsborg $50
Anette Glanckopf $75
Stephen Godfrey $100
Tom & Helen Gracon $100
Barbara Gross $250
Carl Guardino $200
Kathryn Hanson $500
Bob & Margie Harrington $100
Harry Hartzell $50
Bruce Heister $250
Thomas Hoffman $50
Gloria Hom $100
Nancy Huber $335*
Leannah Hunter $100
Susan Hyatt $250
Jane Jackson $100
Sandra James $100
A. C. Johnston $500
John Kelley $150
Tom & Sharon Kelley $200
Edie & Bob Kirkwood $100
Edith Kirkwood $200
Barbara Klausner $150
Jennifer Kleckner $50
Larry Klein $250
Dietmar Kluth $200
Rick Kniss $1,000
Warren & Patricia Kourt $50
Cathy Kroymann $150
Huey Kwik $150
Stephen Levy $500
Carol & Lee Lippert $200
Mandy Lowell $50
Felicia McGrew $400
Ted & Peggy McKee $100
John Melton $250
Pauline & Eric Millar $50
Robert Moss $100
Nancy Mueller $500
Eliane Neukermans $250
W.Ferrell Page Sanders $250
Jim & Alma Phillips $100
Helen & Joe Pickering $100
Robert & Kathleen Pizali $500
Steve & Nancy Player $250
Duffy Price $100
A. J. & Lydia Pugliese $100
Chris Ream $500
Re-Elect Liz Kniss $12,761
Re-Elect Liz Kniss for City Council 2012 $2,809
Tom & Carolyn Reese $75
William Reller $250
Rich Gordon For State Assembly $100
Susan Richardson $500
Barbara Rieder $100
Barry & Kate Roach $100
Johanna & Ed Rogers $500
Diane Rolfe $100
Joseph Rolfe $100
Susan Rosenberg $250
Karen & Steve Ross $100
Liza Salame $1,000
Pat & Tom Sanders $100
Sam Savage $100
H Scharff $500
Kathy Schmidt $50
Gail Schubert $150
Jim & Donna Sheridan $100
Alice Smith $50
Boyd Smith $1,000
Boyd Smith -$1,000
Rgoer Smith $250
Barbara & Douglas Spreng $250
Art Stauffer $50
Isaac & Madeline Stein $250
Geraldine Steinberg $200
Richard Stern $50
Carol Stevens $50
Roger Stuhlmuller $500
Vicki & Larry Sullivan $100
Bruce & Barbara Swenson $1,000
Anne Taylor $100
Paul Taylor $50
Marie Thompson $50
Emily & James Thurber $100
Dana Tom $50
Kathy Torgersen $250
Tony & Carolyn Tucher $100
Carlyn Uyenoyama $50
Lisa Van Dusen $150
Ryan Wagner $750
Asher Waldfogel $100
Elizabeth Ward $275*
Leonard Ware $100
Bart & Nancy Westcott $250
Jackie & Ralph Wheeler $100
Lanie Wheeler $100
Gee & Ed Williams $50
Marie Wolbach $50
Gilbert Wong $100
Jack & Jolaine Woodson $50
Grace Wu $250
*Non-monetary contributions included

July 1, 2016 through September 24, 2016
Stewart Carl for Palo Alto City Council 2016
Margit Aramburu $50
Fred Balin $250
Stewart Carl $250
Suzanne Doyle $200
Tom DuBois $100
Diane Finkelstein $50
Margaret Heath $250
Jennifer Landesman $250
Mark Landesman $250
Ben Lerner $100
Nancy Lowe $50
Elaine Meyer $100
Enid Pearson $100
Emily Renzel $153*
Doria Summa $200
Karlette Warner $50
*Non-monetary contributions included

July 1, 2016 through September 24, 2016
Tanaka for Palo Alto City Council in 2016
Connett Ahart $500
Ajay Arora $500
James Baer $250
Andrew Barnes $50
Betsy Bechtel $100
Bern Beecham $200
Zachary Bogue $5,000
Lloyd Bosley $200
David Bower $250
Neilson Buchanan $777
Todd Burke $800
Owen Byrd $100
William Courington $100
Peter Drekmeier $50
Kathleen Durham $200
Lin Gan $250
Daniel Garber $999
Robert Giannini $500
Jon Goldman $1,522*
Barbara Gross $500
Emily Hamamoto $50
Kris Hamamoto $250
Janis Hom $100
Jane Huang $350
AC Johnson $500
Richard Karp $5,000
John Kelley $150
Rich Kelley $100
David Kleiman $250
Larry Klein $250
Huey Kwik $150
Gab Layton $250
Joe Lee $250
Ralph Levine $100
Steven Levy $500
Carol&Lee Lippert $100
Grace Mah $100
Felicia McGrew $400
Eric Nordman $100
Victor Ojakian $50
Ramji Pilapakam $100
Roxy Rapp $1,000
William Reller $250
Susan Rosenberg $250
Greg Scharff $950
Boyd Smith $1,000
Lund Smith $1,000
Roger Smith $300
Amy Sung $250
Barbara Swenson $100
Holly Ward $100
Marie Wolbach $50
*Non-monetary contributions included


2 people like this
Posted by PA
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 16, 2016 at 9:45 am

120 foot Redwood Tree removal meeting

The City of Palo Alto and Castilleja School are hosting a neighborhood meeting on Tuesday, October 18 at 4 p.m. at Castilleja’s Lockey House, 1263 Emerson Street, to discuss neighbor concerns about school’s redwood trees.


47 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 16, 2016 at 10:17 am

It is worth repeating one of the Kuo/Keller donors excellent post and her position on Casti so we can return to the REAL topic which is the council elections.

Posted by Helyn MacLean
a resident of Old Palo Alto
22 hours ago

I support Arthur Keller, Lydia Kou and Greer Stone for City Council. I was appalled by Kate Downing’s deceptive letter of resignation from the Planning Commission and the attacks on the City and Pat Burt. My donations to Arthur Keller and Lydia Kou are the single largest donations to any campaign that I have ever made. I made them because I have lived in Palo Alto for 25 years. I like its suburban, college town character. I’m afraid that we are in danger of losing that. Many candidates seem to be supporting growth to benefit large corporations and developers. When they speak of affordable housing, they are talking about making housing affordable for tech workers (average starting salary over $150,000) not teachers, non-profit employees, or Whole Foods workers. In fact, Kate Downing and Palo Alto Forward have argued that requiring developers to include affordable housing in new developments is wrong because it makes the other units more expensive. As for Castilleja, I have no intention of lobbying any council member in support of its current proposal or any future proposal. I’m supporting candidates who are the best choice to achieve sensitive, positive growth for the city.


51 people like this
Posted by Smaller Contributions
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 16, 2016 at 11:04 am

Smaller Contributions is a registered user.

Please keep in mind that contributions < $50 are not recorded here, because they are anonymous. I for one am grateful that the "residentialist" candidates (Keller, Kou, Carl, Stone) not only have a broad base, but also have a few folks with deeper pockets, so they can compete with the developer-backed candidates (Fine, McDougall, Tanaka, Kniss).


62 people like this
Posted by Downing
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 16, 2016 at 11:37 am

Thank you for the donor list. Interesting to see that Yekaterina (AKA Kate) Downing donated $1,000 to Adrian Fine, who advocates a similar pro-development agenda.


13 people like this
Posted by PA
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 16, 2016 at 1:24 pm

This is very simple, I would like Kou and Keller explain their stand on Castilleja massive expansion, basically rebuilding the entire campus over five years, digging up 160+ trees including redwoods and oaks to build an underground garage, gym, science lab, and demolishing residential homes next to Castilleja. This is just too convenient that all these five families are deeply rooted with Castilleja's political machine and have donated more than $90,000 to two local candidates. This is unprecedented and I have not been able to find another town in America where five families donated nearly $100 to two local candidates running for a city council seat. I don't claim to be super savvy researcher, but I just can not find a town our size where this has ever happened. This is ugly politics and it will only hurt Keller and Kou in the long run, they will not make it in this election cycle. I hope Keller/Kou can explain their stand regarding Castilleja's boorish conduct. I hope that Casti young women students be honorable and speak out to their administration against destroying our environment.


61 people like this
Posted by to PA
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 16, 2016 at 1:32 pm

And I would like Fine, Tanaka, Kniss and McDougall to state their views on a topic of far greater importance to Palo Alto: the proliferation of tech offices (Palantir in Downtown Palo, others in Stanford Park) and the desire for large numbers of high-density apartment complexes to house all the tech workers. The expansion of one private school seems inconsequential as a motivator in this election–just a wait to discredit grassroots donors IMO.


10 people like this
Posted by PACs in Palo Alto
a resident of University South
on Oct 16, 2016 at 2:52 pm

And it looks like Lydia Kou and Arthur Keller are using that money to run joint negative attack ads against Adrian Fine on Facebook.

We've reached new low in Palo Alto politics.


53 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 16, 2016 at 4:24 pm

Sorry, the "new low in Palo Alto politics" was that expensive misleading push poll claiming the mayor wants to ban all tech jobs in Palo Alto and take us back to the 1950s, followed by the Chamber of Commerce's non-endorsement endorsement.

The reality was that the mayor objected to the takeover of Palo Alto by big companies like Palantir which have priced out the small startups that are at the core of Silicon Valley. How Palantir came to dominate the Chamber of Commerce and the various committees where members are appointed -- not elected -- is worthy of exploration and concern.

We got that poll repeatedly for several weeks. That's way way more expensive than Facebook ads.

I thank the person who listed the contributions above so we can see which developers (Garber, Alcheck et al) and which realtors are backing the hyper-growth candidates.


58 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 16, 2016 at 4:29 pm

PS: Adrian Fine has been advertising on Facebook for weeks if not months. Why the sudden outrage that other candidates are doing the same?

Why is his ad ok but not the joint ad from Keller and Kuo which is more economical than ads from a singe well-funded candidate?

I like candidates who are economical and wonder why we've seen little or no talk about Palo Alto budgets, our under-funded pension liabilities and other economic issues that we the taxpayers get stuck funding because of the mistaken assumption that we're all rich and can afford to pay all of our city employees their bloated salary and benefit packages.


10 people like this
Posted by has this ever happened before??
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 16, 2016 at 7:19 pm

@ Helyn Maclean

[Portion removed.] Even Palo Altans (for the most part) can not afford 1/10th of the contributions you have made. Even 1/100th ($200-300) is a fairly big campaign donation in a local election. [Portion removed.] This makes grassroots participation a joke-- a couple of [portion removed] people will just overwhelm everyone else (which is exactly what you just did).

I just saw that the Rantz and Baker Families kicked in another ho-hum $10k per family this week. Up to over THIRTY THOUSAND DOLLARS for each of them. [Portion removed.]


10 people like this
Posted by True Residentialist
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 16, 2016 at 7:31 pm

[Portion removed.]

Exactly what college students (other than trust fund babies) or even professors can afford to live in Palo Alto? Stanford is hemorrhaging young promising faculty as owning a modest home becomes impossible. (Yes, at $180,000 per year, the base salary for a tenured associate professor, it is nearly impossible to own more than a shack in Palo Alto even with Stanford housing aid.) The new 4BR homes at Stanford's Mayfield (University Terrace) development will require professors to spend $43,000 per year....just on property taxes.

Condos are the new starter homes. So the residentialists tell us we should buy starter homes like they did, but the only homes even remotely affordable for young professionals are condos. And now Lydia and Arthur are condemning Adrian for suggesting that, just maybe, building some condos is necessary to provide starter homes for young professionals.

The alternative is for all the young faculty at Stanford to commute from RWC and beyond, which many are now doing. And then you're just shocked, shocked that there is tons of traffic on the streets every day.

Why not just say that you just don't want any young professional families in Palo Alto? Why not admit that you want all the benefits of a college town without any college students, a Professorville with no professors?


33 people like this
Posted by to true "residentialist"
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 16, 2016 at 7:43 pm

You may need to seek a starter condo in RWC or MV before trading up to a home in PA. This would, of course, require saving for a 20% down-payment.


15 people like this
Posted by True Residentialist
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 16, 2016 at 8:18 pm

So you say you want to preserve the character of the community.

But you don't really want to allow construction of any kind of housing that would qualify as a starter home in today's market. You're deliberately pricing young professionals out of town by making it impossible to build more supply of the kinds of homes they would start in and could afford.

But please don't complain about "traffic" when you tell advise everyone except teachers and firefighters and Whole Foods Market workers (but not professors or service workers) to live 3 towns away (or more).


17 people like this
Posted by has this ever happened before??
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 16, 2016 at 9:14 pm

@ Helyn Maclean

[Portion removed.]

I hope you can understand why giving $20-30,000 per person in a local election is objectionable.

Even Palo Altans (for the most part) can not afford 1/10th of the contributions you have made. Even 1/100th ($200-300) is a fairly big campaign donation in a local election. This makes grassroots participation a joke-- a couple of very well-to-do people will just overwhelm everyone else (which is exactly what you just did).

I just saw that the Rantz and Baker Families kicked in another ho-hum $10k per family this week. Up to over THIRTY THOUSAND DOLLARS for each of them. This will cause a small number of very well-to-do people to overwhelm the contributions of hundreds of "normal" voters.

In a local election, this is wrong. I hope you see that.


14 people like this
Posted by Old PA
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 16, 2016 at 9:19 pm

[Portion removed.] Since these candidates apparently accepted the large donations, I cannot trust their independence, and they will not have my vote.


31 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 17, 2016 at 11:38 am

Annette is a registered user.

It is too late to institute needed campaign financing reforms for any of the 2016 elections. If Keller and Kou were not getting the sort of financial support reported here we'd essentially be faced with having ONE sort of candidate backed by pro-development donors, the democratic party, and affiliated PACs. Frankly, I'd rather have a choice so that we can vote in the four best, most well-qualified candidates. The game is what the game is - at least for now.


57 people like this
Posted by Sally-Ann Rudd
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 17, 2016 at 12:39 pm

Sally-Ann Rudd is a registered user.

I sent a contribution to Arthur and Lydia and I'll be voting for them. If you've been watching PA politics for 20 years, you should appreciate the irony of pro-resident candidates being accused of being in the pocket of some dark PAC. I want to laugh. Or cry. Every time over the last 20+ years when there's been a significant office development opposed by residents, we the residents have been confronted by rows of paid developer staff people who have lobbied city council members, had meetings with them, attended hearings at times normal people with kids and jobs cannot attend, spent hours hunkered down with city staff, contributed to their campaigns, and the campaigns of other politicians at many levels, had their expenses paid, presentations professionally produced, while residents have been unrepresented and unheard in 90% of the process. So Keller and Kou have some money from rich people in Palo Alto? So effing what. Go Arthur and Go Lydia. Its about time.
Hey Gennady, how about you investigate the influence of Palantir on Palo Alto boards and commissions; are those people paid or compensated in any way to serve? How about you take apart the contributor lists of Tanaka and Fine, cos I saw an awful lot of developer names on those lists.


11 people like this
Posted by Old Palo Alto
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 17, 2016 at 1:11 pm

Old Palo Alto is a registered user.

In October, Castilleja school submitted an application to tear down 80% of their campus, rebuild on the existing site and increase enrollment by 30%. This controversial plan will end up with a City Council vote many months from now. Today we hear that several families with influential ties to Castilleja (e.g. former board members and Investment committee member) have given very large contributions to City Council candidates Kou and Keller. [Portion removed.] I think it reprehensible that the money would be accepted, with one exception. If Kou and Keller are willing to go on record that if they are elected and a vote on the Castilleja plan comes before the Council, they will recuse themselves from the vote, then I see that as a fair trade off to get my vote... Do you see that as a fair trade off?


11 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 17, 2016 at 1:56 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

I read every word of the article and all the posts. I'm deeply saddened by what I read. OK, so the Post beat you by a day. That's just journalism competition. My suggestion to PAO...don't allow posts that say who they're voting for. This forum shouldn't be used as a ballot box or as a campaign venue based on party affiliation. Remove all those who tout their party affiliation. The Democrats are the worst offenders. At this point I'm speechless. If everyone would just calm down and go back and watch all the video interviews with the candidates, and make your decisions based on those, we would be so much better off. Getting your knickers all bunched up by the campaign contributions isn't the way to go in trying to make a decision on who to vote for.


27 people like this
Posted by margaret heath
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 17, 2016 at 2:55 pm

margaret heath is a registered user.

As interesting as the donor listings are, it would be much more interesting to know whether where each donor lives. I'd be more concerned about money coming from people outside of Palo Alto who are trying to influence our election.

I'm hoping that Keller and Kou will take this opportunity to go on record supporting residents living around Casti's that enrollment should continue to be capped at the original number they are permitted by Palo Alto.

The money raised by Kou and Keller pales beside the $100,000 Greg Scharf raised for the last election. Although a good chunk of it was his own money. Quite a chunk from people who don't live in Palo Alto.


23 people like this
Posted by anne wong
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 17, 2016 at 5:00 pm

anne wong is a registered user.

In the spirit of transparency, let's take a look at the money flowing into Keller and Kou campaigns since beginning of October:

Arthur Keller:
10/16/2016 6,500.00 Gabrielle Layton
10/16/2016 6,500.00 Helyn MacLean
10/13/2016 2,100.00 Paula Rantz
10/13/2016 6,000.00 G. Leonard Baker, Jr
10/13/2016 2,100.00 Michael Rantz
10/13/2016 6,500.00 MACLEAN, HELYN
10/13/2016 2,100.00 MICHAEL GARY RANTZ
10/13/2016 2,100.00 PAULA RANTZ
10/13/2016 6,000.00 Tench Coxe
10/12/2016 6,500.00 GABRIELLE LAYTON
10/12/2016 6,000.00 TENCH COXE
10/11/2016 6,000.00 G. LEONARD BAKER, JR.
10/09/2016 6,500.00 Mary Anne Baker
10/09/2016 6,000.00 Helyn MacLean
10/07/2016 6,000.00 Simone Coxe
10/06/2016 3,300.00 Michael Rantz
10/06/2016 3,700.00 Paula Rantz
10/06/2016 6,000.00 Thomas Layton
10/06/2016 6,000.00 MACLEAN, HELYN
10/05/2016 6,000.00 THOMAS LAYTON
10/05/2016 3,700.00 MICHAEL GARY RANTZ
10/05/2016 3,300.00 PAULA RANTZ
10/05/2016 6,500.00 MARY ANNE NYBURG BAKER
10/05/2016 6,000.00 SIMONE COXE

Lydia Kou
10/16/2016 6,000.00 Tench Coxe
10/16/2016 6,500.00 Helyn MacLean
10/16/2016 6,500.00 Gabrielle Layton
10/14/2016 6,000.00 G. Leonard Baker Jr.
10/14/2016 2,100.00 Michael Rantz
10/14/2016 2,100.00 Paula Rantz
10/13/2016 6,500.00 MACLEAN, HELYN
10/13/2016 2,100.00 MICHAEL GARY RANTZ
10/13/2016 2,100.00 PAULA RANTZ
10/12/2016 6,500.00 GABRIELLE LAYTON
10/12/2016 6,000.00 TENCH COXE
10/11/2016 6,000.00 G. LEONARD BAKER, JR.
10/10/2016 6,000.00 Helyn MacLean
10/07/2016 6,500.00 Mary Anne Baker
10/06/2016 6,000.00 Thomas Layton
10/06/2016 900.00 Tench Cox
10/06/2016 6,000.00 MACLEAN, HELYN
10/06/2016 6,000.00 Simone Coxe
10/05/2016 3,700.00 Michael Rantz
10/05/2016 3,300.00 PAULA RANTZ
10/05/2016 6,000.00 SIMONE COXE
10/05/2016 6,500.00 MARY ANNE NYBURG BAKER
10/05/2016 3,300.00 Paula Rantz
10/05/2016 3,700.00 MICHAEL GARY RANTZ
10/05/2016 6,000.00 THOMAS LAYTON

This is a matter of public record, but seems like a bad dream.


30 people like this
Posted by 6Djockey
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 17, 2016 at 9:46 pm

6Djockey is a registered user.

Many of the commenters are assuming that because Kou and Keller received large donations from a few families that there is some expectation that they are being influenced by those donations. Could it be that those families simply believe that the residientialist point of view needs to be represented since the pro-develepment view has been so heavily funded by developers?


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

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