Editorial: Keller, Kou, Kniss and Fine for Palo Alto City Council | News | Palo Alto Online |


Editorial: Keller, Kou, Kniss and Fine for Palo Alto City Council

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Two years ago, during the last City Council campaign in Palo Alto, a chorus of longtime community leaders who had dominated city politics for many years made dire warnings about electing the three leading "outsider," so-called "slow growth" candidates.

Those candidates -- Tom DuBois, Eric Filseth and Lydia Kou -- along with incumbent Karen Holman, were channeling residents' concerns over excessive office development, parking and traffic congestion and the failure of the council to protect the quality of life in Palo Alto.

Their campaigns challenged the status quo by giving voice to more diverse elements of Palo Alto, especially those who felt city policy was being overly influenced by a political establishment rooted in the north part of the city and too sympathetic to development interests.

At the time, some of that political establishment labeled these candidates as opposed to any new development, including housing, and a whisper campaign suggested they were libertarians or Tea Party members masquerading as residentialists. In short, electing these folks would be bad for Palo Alto.

When the balloting was over, DuBois, Filseth and Holman were elected, along with incumbent Greg Scharff and newcomer Cory Wolbach, who beat Kou by just 135 votes.

The newly constituted council went on to elect Holman mayor, and for the first time in more than four decades, the city had a council philosophically split roughly down the middle.

So how has it turned out? Have DuBois and Filseth turned out to be the obstructionist no-growthers the political establishment warned of during the 2014 campaign?

Hardly. They have served the community well over the last two years and have brought healthy, intelligent and substantive debate to council meetings. Their presence has forced the entire council to look for common ground, and with a few exceptions, the political split on the council has improved outcomes and eased, not deepened, community angst. When all segments of the community believe their views are represented by at least someone on the council, confidence in the process grows in spite of sincerely held differences.

Without the new political alignment brought about by the 2014 election it is almost certain that the city would still be granting special zoning in exchange for so-called community "benefits" (the infamous "planned community" projects), would have no cap on office development, may not have stuck with a nascent downtown residential-parking program and would have approved a commercial office building at the corner of Page Mill Road and El Camino Real, among other places.

Unfortunately, in this year's City Council campaign emotions and lingering hard feelings from two years ago have led to an almost identical dynamic, with two groups of four candidates once again painting the race as a clear choice about the future of the city and once again distorting positions of the other side.

While everyone avoids the term "slate," each side calls the other a slate and urges voters to support their group of candidates. It's déjà vu.

Both of these "sides" have engaged in regrettable campaign tactics -- a turn-off to those voters more interested in electing the best qualified candidates who will neither be tools for development interests nor afraid of change and innovation.

The Chamber of Commerce embarrassed itself and did the community a disservice when it sent a shrill email to its members supporting the set of four candidates (incumbent Liz Kniss, Greg Tanaka, Adrian Fine and Don McDougall) it found most sympathetic to business interests and containing blatant inaccuracies and mischaracterizations, especially of the views of Mayor Pat Burt. The chamber, which used to temper its advocacy on behalf of businesses out of a desire to build bridges to the broader community, is responsible for triggering acrimony that most in the community don't want to see in their local political contests.

Then Arthur Keller and Kou crossed the line with a Facebook video ad warning incorrectly that Fine was advocating high-rise office and condo development.

And finally there are questions surrounding the enormous donations made by five Palo Alto couples in the last two weeks to the Keller and Kou campaigns and to the Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning PAC (which supports Keller, Kou, Stewart Carl and Greer Stone). These donations, totaling more than $160,000, are unprecedented in Palo Alto politics and are a huge departure from the tradition of grassroots fundraising in which $1,000 has been considered a large donation.

Had a developer, architect or large property owner made campaign contributions of this size, voters would have legitimately questioned the independence of the candidate who accepted them.

And while the donations are perfectly legal and the five donor families insist that their only interest is in making sure that Keller and Kou are able to wage effective campaigns comparable to the opposing group, the donations have triggered distracting and unsupported conspiracy theories about the donors' ties to Castilleja School and allegations that they are trying to buy the election for unknown reasons.

The indignant reaction of a handful of former mayors, who each support the opposing candidates, was equally disappointing for its sweeping assertions and innuendo. There is nothing to suggest anything other than political inexperience and poor judgment led to these donations.

In deciding whom to recommend in this year's race we find ourselves in a dilemma similar to two years ago -- how to balance candidate knowledge and experience, views on issues, ability to work with others and ability to effectively articulate their positions and philosophy. We also are mindful of the political orientations of the incumbents who are leaving the council -- Burt, Greg Schmid and Marc Berman and the effect on the balance on the council.

Four years ago three incumbents were seeking re-election (Holman, Greg Scharff and Nancy Shepherd) and this year only one, Kniss, is running. None of the challengers in 2014 had served on city commissions. This year we have two current (Tanaka and Fine) and one past (Keller) planning commissioners, but the other candidates have little or no public record on which they can be judged.

Stone has been on the Human Relations Commission for three years and is currently chairperson. McDougall is vice chair of the Library Advisory Commission.

Kou, along with Keller and McDougall, is on the Comprehensive Plan Citizens Advisory Committee (Keller is co-chairing the group) and Carl is the founder of Sky Posse, the group that is advocating for changes to the new airplane routing system. Len Ely and John Fredrich are running independently and have not served on any city commissions or advisory committees. Danielle Martell declined to be interviewed.

The Weekly published extensive profiles of each candidate on Oct. 14 and has posted videos of our endorsement interviews held the week of Oct. 3. We urge voters to read and watch this coverage to get their own sense for the capabilities and styles of the candidates.

For voters who wish to make strictly philosophical voting decisions, the choices are clear. If you are most concerned with controlling future commercial development and making sure that traffic congestion and parking needs are addressed prior to, not after, development is approved, then your candidates are Arthur Keller, Lydia Kou, Stewart Carl and Greer Stone. To varying degrees, these four all support low annual limits on new commercial development and oppose relaxing parking requirements for developments without stronger evidence that alternative transportation methods will be successful in our suburban community. They generally reject the idea that Palo Alto's housing affordability problems can be successfully addressed by building lots of dense, market-rate housing for all income levels, and instead advocate a more focused strategy of subsidized housing for service workers, seniors and low-income residents.

Voters who believe the city needs to move aggressively and creatively to encourage development of higher density housing for all types of income levels, including young families and highly paid tech workers wanting to live in Palo Alto, your candidates are Adrian Fine, Don McDougall and Greg Tanaka. These three, along with Kniss, are more welcoming to new development proposals of all kinds and want to see the city be more experimental, innovative and less restrictive in building new housing, especially with regard to height and parking.

Ely is the candidate most supportive of new commercial office development, but mostly emphasizes his belief that city government needs to be more efficient, learn quickly from its mistakes and focus on getting stuff done rather than talking problems to death.

As we recommended two years ago, we urge voters to consider not simply picking one group of candidates or the other, but to consider which four candidates will best complement the five holdover councilmembers and successfully work together to shape the future of the community.

In terms of knowledge and experience, Kniss and Keller top the list. While Kniss sometimes frustrates us for lapses in homework on the issues and over-reliance on her extensive personal network of friends for input, she knows this community better than any other candidate and is a practical politician who is good at reading and following the political winds. She has moved toward the middle with the rising community concerns over development and traffic and looks for ways of bridging differences and building consensus.

Keller is a lover of data who understands planning issues and trade-offs more than any other candidate. He can frustrate and irritate both his political allies and opponents because of his obsessive analyses and strong opinions, but he also has the most to offer after serving for eight years on the planning commission. To succeed on the council he will need to adjust his approach and pick his battles carefully, but he will be invaluable as the new council reviews, approves and implements the new comprehensive plan.

The best candidates for the other two slots, in our opinion, are Kou and Fine.

Kou has grown tremendously in her knowledge and understanding of the community and issues since the 2014 election campaign. She has a strong following among neighborhood activists, has learned a lot from serving on the Comprehensive Plan Citizens Advisory Committee and would add important gender and ethnic diversity to a council that needs more of each.

Fine is young, relatively inexperienced and untested, but is the most passionate and enthusiastic of the candidates about keeping Palo Alto a community welcoming of young families and open to new ideas and strategies for the city's future. His two short years on the planning commission have been bumpy and his opposition to the temporary development cap (which he now says he supports) conveys some naivete. But he is representative of a generation that will eventually assume the leadership mantle for the city.

While we expect to disagree with some of Fine's actions, he will bring a needed voice to the council that is rooted in a sincere desire to see the community he grew up in evolve in a way that preserves its character yet embraces change.

Among the remaining candidates, we believe Stone, Carl and McDougall each offer qualities and viewpoints that could help create a well-balanced council. They are all well-informed, have thoughtful positions and articulate them well, and we'd love to see them continue their activities and return in two years. Tanaka, with eight years experience on the planning commission, surprised us by being unable or unwilling to answer basic questions about planning issues, such as his position on whether and how commercial development should be controlled. While we respect and agree with his desire to reach out and seek consensus, his reluctance to articulate his own views and values was, in our opinion, disqualifying.

With the election of Keller, Kou, Kniss and Fine, the current split on the council will be preserved, but with a slightly stronger slow-growth majority due to the departure of Burt, who had become a swing vote on a council divided 4-4 on many planning and development issues.

The next few years will see the council adopt a new comprehensive plan and hire a new city manager, two of the most important and consequential actions of any council. We think a narrowly divided council, with a tilt toward continued restraint on development, is the best formula for meeting these challenges and moving the community forward.

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


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

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22 people like this
Posted by I support Liz
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 20, 2016 at 8:56 pm

Liz Kniss has served this community honorably and faithfully for 25 years, and she will continue to do so for the next four.

44 people like this
Posted by Scared for our future
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 20, 2016 at 9:31 pm

When five donors make huge contributions to candidates and a PAC, you can't just chalk it up to "political inexperience and poor judgment". Lydia Kou and Arthur Keller have a great deal of political experience, as the editorial mentions. They knew exactly what they were doing and the taboo they were breaking.

As for their judgement, it does seem to be poor.

If candidates can accept donations of $30k from a single big-money family without paying a political price, the rules of the game in Palo Alto will have changed forever. We will no longer have small town politics - instead, we'll have big city politics. Candidates will need to find deep-pocketed political patrons before they are willing to run.

How this change is supposed to reduce the influence of developers is beyond me.

If you want to keep Palo Alto candidates honest, vote for anyone but Kou or Keller. Vote for Greer Stone and Stewart Carl and maybe Liz Kniss and leave the rest blank! Or vote for Kniss, Fine, Tanaka, and McDougall if you prefer them.

But if Kou and Keller win after this, we will never have the town we know again.

29 people like this
Posted by split
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 20, 2016 at 9:40 pm

I appreciate it that the Weekly isn't putting their thumb on the scale in this high-stakes election. Although those who keep up with Palo Alto politics will likely vote for either the residentialists (Kou-Keller-Stone-Stewart) or the pro-development group (Fine-Tanaka-Kniss-McDougall), depending on their interests, many apolitical residents will simply follow the Weekly's recommendations. In this way, the future City Council will need to consider the perspectives of current residents as well as those who would like to be residents and developers who would like to profit from new construction. Thank you, Weekly.

40 people like this
Posted by Great future for PA!
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 20, 2016 at 9:42 pm

Thanks weekly for nice endorsements. I liked the history about last race. I like what I hear from Fine, Keller and Kniss - different perspectives, types of experience. But all care deeply about Palo Alto. I'm less sure about Lydia Kou since she led the fight against Maybell/affordable housing.

41 people like this
Posted by go Adrian!
a resident of Ohlone School
on Oct 20, 2016 at 9:48 pm

Really glad to see the Weekly endorse Adrian Fine for Council! He's an intelligent and thoughtful young man who was raised by this city. Went to our schools (ohlone!), has fresh new ideas, and is very articulate about the issues facing our community. Thank you weekly!

41 people like this
Posted by Lorraine Watson
a resident of another community
on Oct 20, 2016 at 9:51 pm

My parents are two very fortunate senior individuals who are fortunate enough to live in one of the very few affordable apartments in Palo Alto, after being on a waiting list for over five years. Primarily because of housing challenges our family endured, I have been actively interested in following affordable housing advocacy in Palo Alto. Lydia Kou is not an affordable housing advocate. [Portion removed.]

39 people like this
Posted by Online News
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 20, 2016 at 9:52 pm

As of today, the donations from the 5 families brings the funding to within a measly $1,000 for the 2 "slates" of candidates. $179K for Kniss, Tanaka, Fine and McDougall vs $178K for Keller, Kuo, Stone and Carl if you use Tom DuBois' numbers.

Using the Merc's numbers today, the entire "residentialist" slate is still $11,184 behind. Web Link

Either way, the CoC's non-endorsement is priceless and these numbers ignore all the recent small contributions and the $999 contributions designed to slip under the disclosure wire.

Good for the 5 families for trying to evening the playing field.

PS: Why endorse Fine but not Tanaka?

127 people like this
Posted by I support Lydia Kou!
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 20, 2016 at 11:22 pm

Lydia Kou genuinely cares about residents and our community. She has contributed positively to our community. She has the integrity, courage, and intellect to tackle the pressing issues facing our city: over-development, traffic, congestion, parking, infrastructure, and housing.

Posted by Diversity
a resident of College Terrace

on Oct 20, 2016 at 11:32 pm

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103 people like this
Posted by Keller and Kou
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 20, 2016 at 11:33 pm

Love it!!!

Let's not forget Greer and Stewart.

52 people like this
Posted by Thanks Weekly
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 20, 2016 at 11:38 pm

I like the idea of balance, but particularly like the fact that you endorsed Arthur and Lydia for the residents!

23 people like this
Posted by Kniss and Fine...
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Oct 21, 2016 at 12:04 am

..represent two sides of Palo Alto we need to respect: experienced and seasoned, and young and fresh. I've seen them both together at a coffee hour, and they look like they could work well together. Liz Kniss has deep experience across a range of issues and communities, and Mr. Fine has a cooperative spirit, and knows the details of city government very well.

102 people like this
Posted by Keller Kou and Stewart
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2016 at 12:16 am

Keller Kou and Stewart is a registered user.


remember Stewart Carl!

I can see why the Weekly needs to split the baby in the middle, but I'm voting Keller, Kou, Stewart and Greer.

24 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2016 at 12:30 am

"As of today, the donations from the 5 families brings the funding to within a measly $1,000 for the 2 "slates" of candidates. $179K for Kniss, Tanaka, Fine and McDougall vs $178K for Keller, Kuo, Stone and Carl if you use Tom DuBois' numbers.

Using the Merc's numbers today, the entire "residentialist" slate is still $11,184 behind. Web Link"

Wow. Imagine if the five resident families had not moved on this. Probably all the outraged people here would have been angry the other way, right? That the pro-development slate had raised 2X more money than the others and were threatening democracy?

41 people like this
Posted by crazy train
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 21, 2016 at 12:40 am

If this city ends up being run by two council members who took more than $30k in cash from each of just 5 families, then we are on the crazy train. Talk about buying an election. Weekly, you spent all this time trying to convince us that Kou and Keller had all this experience and knowledge and then you say we should ignore the fact that they're being bought by just 5 families because they're inexperienced. Which one is it?

The other candidates all got their money in small chunks from a broad swath of the community. So comparing just dollars raised is silly. You have to look at where the money is coming from. And I say if just 5 families pay for your entire campaign, then you don't really represent the people of Palo Alto- heck you haven't even tried to convince anyone to buy into your vision or your goals. And most surely everything they do from here on in will represent the views of those 5 families above the views of the rest of the community.

People like to get all angry about developer money but developers gave four candidates about the same amount as just one family gave to these two. Do the math. Kuo and Keller are owned by the 5 families, whereas developer money represents only a tiny fraction of the campaign budgets of anyone else.

People act like the only "self-interested" group possible is developers, but I'm looking at 5 home owners and business owners (i.e. *landlords*) who seem to have a very deeply vested interest in making sure that both their residential and commercial properties become more expensive by preventing anyone else from building any more residential or commercial property. You say "quality of life" but I say "quantity in their checkbooks."

118 people like this
Posted by Citizen PA
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2016 at 12:55 am

I will be voting Kou, Keller, Carl, and Stone. I can see the Kniss nod, but not Fine. We already have a development extremist young person in Cory Wohlbach, we don't need another, especially not one who would raise the specter of whether they are furthering Palantir's interests over residents'.. Research shows that Millenials are a majority NOT interested in living in cities, but in suburbs. We already have Wohlbach pushing to transform Palo Alto into a City, if we want balance, we should endorse a young person whose views better represent the generation and would balance the development extremists.

21 people like this
Posted by young people
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 21, 2016 at 1:17 am

Young people don't prefer to live in the suburbs with all else being equal. They prefer to live in the suburbs because they can't afford to live in our ever increasingly expensive cities. Lots of those surveys look at where people are looking to move or considering moving, which obviously builds in their financial limitations. You're not doing those people any favors by making it even more expensive to live in walkable areas by refusing to build more housing there. When young people do look at suburbs, even then they're looking at the more walkable variety, like Palo Alto and Mountain View. Any realtor will tell you that young people are first and foremost looking for walkability. Those same realtors will also tell you that the only reason most millennials end up in the suburbs is not because millennials love boring cul de sacs, but because they can't find good schools in walkable areas that they can afford. The reality is that most of America isn't walkable and the parts that are, often don't have good school districts because of the many missteps large cities have made with regard to education. So millenials are choosing the lesser evil. Just like this stupid election. It doesn't mean that they're dying to trade the corner bar and the deli down the street for gas guzzling SUV and water-soaked lawn. I'm a millennial. I have lots of millennial friends. We couldn't be less represented by Greer. We find him to be an aberration. A grumpy old man yelling at people to get off his lawn in a young person's body.

22 people like this
Posted by TuppenceT
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 21, 2016 at 6:02 am

TuppenceT is a registered user.

@on line name asks why not Tenaka-
Read the endorsement story
Tenaka "reluctance to articulate his own views and values was, in our opinion, disqualifying."
Interesting - time to watch the interview!

106 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2016 at 7:36 am

Keller and Kou - Our city will be well served with the Keller who knows land use and planning inside out, is often the smartest man in the room, and is a straight shooter, beholding to none. Kou's brings a deep understanding of neighborhood concerns. She knows how the city works, how to get things done. She is unique among candidates in having a record of promoting multicultural diversity, understanding its importance to community health. Keller and Kou's maturity and experience will benefit us greatly on council. Well done Weekly. With Kniss, we know what we will get - semi-engagement and her desire to be mayor one more time. Fine - if elected, a return to pushing for what he has espoused on the planning commission - unlimited office growth that stimulates the need for more housing and traffic. Massive development. Woe is us.

44 people like this
Posted by Kathy Fernandez
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 21, 2016 at 7:43 am

LYDIA KOU IS NOT AN AFFORDABLE HOUSING ADVOCATE. I can't believe she is using that as part of her campaign. If she truly supported and understood the logistics of building affordable housing, she would know that she needs to support zoning that would allow higher density. Her contributors are getting fooled and should check historical data. For us who truly support affordable housing in Palo Alto, Lydia Kou is not the candidate!

32 people like this
Posted by let's get McDougall and Tanaka too!
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 21, 2016 at 7:51 am

I think that the Weekly did a nice job in interviewing candidates and making endorsements.

I firmly believe that all of these candidates have shown their bona fides in looking to work hard for Palo Alto residents.

There is clearly a difference in philosophy among the two camps, though.

I want a Palo Alto that has more opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds. Traffic/ parking is an issue for me, but not my ONLY issue. I think that Fine, Kniss, McDougall and Tanaka get the reality of where our region is headed, and will steer Palo Alto in a good direction.

18 people like this
Posted by NeilsonBuchanan
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 21, 2016 at 7:54 am

NeilsonBuchanan is a registered user.

It is difficult to state anything positive about the Presidential Campaign, but the need for balance between the Legislative and Executive Branches will be profound for the next four years. We citizens will soon learn a new Civics 101 lesson about the value of balance and compromise at the Federal level.

Keller, Kniss, Kou and Fine will, through their differences, balance policy and direction for Palo Alto. Vote for them. Palo Alto has its challenges to be met head on.

86 people like this
Posted by anon evergreen park
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 21, 2016 at 7:54 am

anon evergreen park is a registered user.

Crazy Train,

You said:

"If this city ends up being run by two council members who took more than $30k in cash from each of just 5 families, then we are on the crazy train"

The council has nine members so cannot be "run" by two.

The article said that the five couples donations came to a total of about $160.000.00; not $30 K times five to two candidates.

I applaud the residents who legally and openly gave money to "two" to level the playing field with the other side whose donations are dominated Big Developer Money and supported by questionable Chamber of Commerce "non-Endorsement" to Kniss, Fine Tanaka and McDougal.

This race is not about those that would make distinctions among folks based on how wealthy they are but rather it is about Candidates like Kou and Keller that will protect us all from the greed of" a few" that see our city not as a place for people to live, and for children to thrive with a healthy economy and great schools, but a cash cow to milked for their own personal benefit.

Vote Kou, Keller, Stone and Carl!!!

90 people like this
Posted by middle aged people
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 21, 2016 at 8:15 am

@ young people. This may come as a surprise to you, but many of us who are a little older, also didn't want to live in boring cul de sacs. We also couldn't find good schools in walkable neighborhoods that we could afford. We just realized we had to put our heads down, work hard and save. Most of us have moved multiple times - starting out renting, then buying a studio, then a one bed, and finally a house after many years. We were in your shoes a couple of decades ago. We just didn't expect to solve the issue in our first jump into the real estate market. It just takes time.

But higher density in an area with such lousy public transport isn't going to make it cheaper. It's just going to make it very unpleasant. I like Greer. I think, his work with many who are less privileged has perhaps given him a broader perspective.

23 people like this
Posted by Me
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 21, 2016 at 8:42 am

"Tenaka(sic) "reluctance to articulate his own views and values was, in our opinion, disqualifying."
Interesting - time to watch the interview!"

Or maybe he is not extremist in viewpoint and considers each project on its own merit rather than have an overarching view of development vs. non-development. Beware of those who espouse unyielding, one-sided views.

But it doesn't matter anyway. The city is run but mostly unelected, appointed department heads that run roughshod over residents' concerns (see Josh Mello). We should be more concerned about these clowns, because they have no one to whom to answer.

Like this comment
Posted by PaloAltoResident
a resident of Gunn High School
on Oct 21, 2016 at 8:44 am

Hi - Dumb question: I am a Palo Alto resident/homeowner, and I am a registered voter. One question: Where and when can I vote for this slate of candidates?

15 people like this
Posted by Vincent
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 21, 2016 at 8:49 am

Naturally kuo,Keller, kniss and fine got endorsements. They have night the most advertisement on the weekly website. Some things never change in Palo alto.

141 people like this
Posted by Wolbach 2.0
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 21, 2016 at 8:49 am

Why would we want to balance council members who stand up for residents with those that do not? When did outside developer interests become deserving of an equal voice?

The Fine endorsement reeks of echoes of the Cory Wolbach endorsement 2 years ago: his record is that of a pro-growth zealot, who is hiding behind moderate sounding platitudes such as "I listen to both sides."

If his beliefs were so in tune with Palo Alto's electorate, why hide them? Why not own it?

If "moderation" is what you're looking for, Fine is not the guy. We already have the generationally entitled, "Give me everything because I'm young and want market forces to not apply to me" demographic represented well on the council.

If you choose residents over outside developer interests, it's clearly Kou and Keller, of course, and Stone and Carl in place of Kniss and Fine. If you have to have an establishment candidate, Kniss is far superior to Fine.

The Weekly tried to split the baby here, but before taking their advice pleae remember how Wolbach turned out.

96 people like this
Posted by See how they vote
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 21, 2016 at 9:09 am

Has Kniss ever not voted for a big developer?

Keller and Kou are truly representative of our residents. Kniss and Fine are securely in the pockets of developers. Check their voting records.

9 people like this
Posted by Appreciate the balance
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 21, 2016 at 9:25 am

All four of these candidates clearly have strong support from (different parts of) the community. Kniss has deep connections in the city and region + institutional knowledge, Fine represents homegrown leadership and vision for the future, Kou has been active more recently, and is persistent, and Keller is a proud wonk. I think these endorsements balance the needs of our community: old and young, experience and fresh ideas, people with expertise in transportation, cultural affairs, land use, neighborhoods, and the environment. Pretty fair all around

36 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 21, 2016 at 9:35 am

For once I agree with ME. I recently dealt with Mr. Fine and Mr. Tanaka after meeting Mr. Tanaka when he was campaigning door-to-door re Mr. Mello's decision to proceed with the Jordan bike lanes in spite of residents' complaints and which is causing traffic to back up into Oregon during RUSH HOUR.

As a follow-up to Mr. Tanaka's visit, he took the initiative to suggest to Mr. Fine that the Planning & Transportation Commission needed to meet and act on the problem. He copied me on his request to Mr. Fine.

Mr. Tanaka was curious about the problem's origin that he'd personally experienced dropping off his kid at Jordan, understood the issue, took the initiative to try to schedule a meeting to address the problem and followed up.

Mr. Fine, on the other hand, got the meeting date wrong which Mr. Tanaka had to correct, was unclear on the difference between monitoring traffic MID-DAY and during RUSH HOUR, defended Mr. Mello for ignoring residents' input, saying Mr. Mello was working to START talks with the COUNTY about fixing the OREGON traffic light.

Mr. Fine was satisfied that passing the buck to the county for a city-corrected problem was a "solution" to a dangerous problem while Mr. Tanaka continued to follow-up with me even after I'd chosen to support other candidates. (Mr. Mello continues his silence while the problem remains unresolved.)

For a pro-growth candidate, Mr. Tanaka seems the preferable pragmatic choice.

129 people like this
Posted by Not Fine
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 21, 2016 at 9:41 am

At least the weekly got 3 out of 4 right but Adrian Fine, really? PA Weekly's endorsement of Cory turned out to be a mistake and they are repeating it with Adrian. If you want someone young, vote for Stone. Cory has shown a lack of empathy and understanding of residents concerns as did Adrian up until he started campaigning for council. Adrian was against the office cap, against height limits and against RPP, all of which he has made clear statements on public record. Any candidate that reverses his positions for their campaign should not be endorsed and will likely revert back after being elected to his very pro-fast-growth stance. While he's presenting himself as humble during campaign season he has displayed significant arrogance and was very dismissive of residents concerns when in committee meetings prior to that.

24 people like this
Posted by Careful observer
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 21, 2016 at 10:04 am

This is a thoughtful piece with helpful background and relatively accurate assessments of those whom they are endorsing.

I will support Liz Kniss and Adrian Fine, who are both reasonable people. I can see why the Weekly recommended Arthur Keller and I appreciate his service and depth of knowledge in one area. I will not be voting for him because of his rigid ideology, but I can understand why others would. However, the recommendation of Lydia Kou is not one that I can support. Having watched her at forums and reviewed my notes from those sessions, I do not see any evidence that she can perform one of the important roles required of Council members - absorbing new information from staff, residents, and colleagues during a Council session and then incorporating those into her decision. Her answers to questions that she could expect were simplistic and not entirely connected to the rest of the discussion.

16 people like this
Posted by Karen
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 21, 2016 at 10:25 am

There is much negativity in this local election from attack FB ads to print ads about “developer” money. Seems like a political witch hunt just to confuse the issues that Palo Alto faces. It is easy for candidates to run on ideology with really no background or experience. Greer Stone is case in point.

Arthur is most definitely well-qualified as is Fine. I think there is good representation of two different economic backgrounds and age perspectives between the two. I am interested to see the two of them work together. Kou with all due respect is in real estate and has taken money from her peers. I don’t understand how she can throw mud at others for “developer” money and pretend to be a community activist. She opposed Maybell, her messages is of fear, negativity and intolerance. She is not a community builder. I would not vote for her under any circumstances especially considering she is the most “well-funded” candidate to date no matter how you spin the story.

81 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2016 at 10:58 am

Maturity may also be a question with Fine:

“That generation got a sweet deal, we’re getting a raw deal. Palo Alto residents who have been here since 1950 have told me “My generation screwed you.” “
Web Link

“These regulations are at fault. As is frankly the attitude of folks who have their single family homes.”
Web Link

@alevin triple yes! "Compatibilty" is just replicating the same "community character" everywhere. It's like an evil amoeba
Adrian Fine ‏@adrianfine Aug 16

“You should accept some of the benefits of living in the City. In terms of enforcement, I have friends who get ticketed. My cars get ticketed for other things just as the parking patrol officers come through. It's really, really annoying.”
Web Link

“We talk about growth management. What about growth enablement?”
Web Link

95 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 21, 2016 at 11:21 am

Annette is a registered user.

@Scared for our Future - the last line of your post (But if Kou and Keller win after this, we will never have the town we know again.) is perplexing.

Seems to me that Keller and Kou are interested in preserving and protecting many aspects of what's left of the town we know. If your comment is a reference to the donations I think the collective outrage falls into the "pot calling the kettle black" category. The damage done by such support is rooted in past elections; it certainly did not start with the donations you reference. Those donations essentially leveled the playing field.

109 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 21, 2016 at 11:34 am

I think it's time for Liz Kniss to move on to other things. She changes her agenda as needed, heavily pro-developer, and doesn't have a clue on how to tackle the issues in Palo Alto. She is running with the same exact agenda as last time, which means she didn't deliver the first time. The traffic/transportation issue is a total joke, and her solutions are infantile. She has supported all developer's projects that came to the table, even when most Palo Alto residents oppose and are asking for more restrictions/conditions. And same goes for her previous experiences as school board - she just sat there filling the position but really not bringing any solutions to anything. We need leaders not seat-fillers.
And then Adrian Fine, really? The fact that Cory Wolbach, Greg Scharff, and Marc Berman are the only three city council members to endorse him says A LOT already. But even more concerning it's the fact that he comes directly from the Planning and Transportation Commission AND the transportation situation has only worsened. He has not been able to tackle ONE issue but he thinks he is fit to tackle all as City Council. This goes for Tanaka as well.
These candidates only care about the status and pride of being an elected city council. Their experiences show they haven't been able to tackle or resolve any issues the city suffers.

93 people like this
Posted by Anne Midtown
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 21, 2016 at 12:02 pm

I also blame the Weekly for getting Cory Wolbach elected in 2014, with their endorsement of his candidacy. Like some others on this thread, I can see why Kniss's experience is valuable, but Adrian Fine's arrogance, inconsistency and pro growth inclinations are a real turnoff. I'm voting Kou, Keller, Carl, Stone.

19 people like this
Posted by Voting for Fine
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 21, 2016 at 12:07 pm

I've had the pleasure of meeting Adrian Fine at a get together hosted by our neighbors. After hearing Adrian present his views and plans which seemed very well thought out and reasonable I was definitely impressed. Then he opened it up to questions, asking people what mattered to them, what their concerns were. There was not a script nor agenda. He was completely comfortable just talking to people, a few in the audience brought up some disagreements but he was neither frazzled nor agreeing to something he didn't stand for - and I really respect that.

Turns out Adrian actually has a background in transportation and finance as well as community relations through his work and is educated as a planner. I wish we could have more young folks like him in Palo Alto - doing service, showing his personal commitment to the town he grew up in. I was also glad to see how humble he was - willing to listen and learn. He admitted he didn't have all the answers but is willing to put in the time and the effort to do what is best for our town and residents.
I have lived in Palo Alto for over 40 years and I am supporting Adrian Fine.

94 people like this
Posted by Midtown Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 21, 2016 at 12:10 pm

Overdevelopment, traffic, lack of parking, major loss of retail, loss of recreational opportunities, subsidy of a noisy polluting airport that serves just a few, poor management of library projects with cost overruns, redevelopment of California Ave from neighborhood retail to worker servces (gyms, nail salons, restaurant row) at huge cost without a vote (after cutting down the trees without input), lack of decent internet service, dirty streets after street cleaning services cut, lack of attention to air pollution from wood burning, insufficient hours of pool being open, late and tepid response to NexGen air traffic ... In my opinion, it is time to change direction. Vote to maintain and improve our quality of life. Vote for a Council who will hire city managers responsive to the citizens who live here and pay the taxes. Vote for a sustainable future for our beautiful city. Vote Keller, Kou, Carl and Stone.

74 people like this
Posted by 6Djockey
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 21, 2016 at 12:52 pm

6Djockey is a registered user.

I'm afraid I didn't get my comment in quickly enough. As usual the PAF machine has already posted a majority of the comments on the site. But that doesn't mean they are more right than those of us who feel that there has been far too much business development and not enough low-cost housing and that we need to change this.

Anyone who says Kou is not in favor of low-cost housing for low-paid workers, police, teachers and seniors obviously doesn't know her. She would be the first to approve such housing if it could be legally assured that such housing could be occupied by the above groups. That did not appear to be the case in the past because it was labeled discrimination. Now there appears to be some good possibilities of assuring who gets to live in new, low-cost housing. One is that housing built on school property, funded by the fed and not by local taxes, could be occupied by teachers. Another is that there is a legal precedent in another city for assuring that the housing is available only to those for which it was intended.

I'm voting for Kou because she is the one I would trust most to see that low-cost housing is in place for the people for which it was intended.

57 people like this
Posted by Terri
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 21, 2016 at 1:36 pm

Considering all candidates, I honestly think the 3 that deserved the endorsement are Kniss, Kou, and Keller. I'm not sure about Fine. There are so many reports on inconsistencies. At the forums, he mentioned one thing, whereas on his website it says another. Is that what we want?
Also, I'm sure other candidates have more experience than him serving the city. If he's "inexperienced and untested" how should we trust him to make important decisions on Council?
I say vote for the 3 endorsed candidates and Stone, whom although younger, does have more experience serving the city (as stated on his website).

9 people like this
Posted by anon evergreen park
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 21, 2016 at 1:48 pm

anon evergreen park is a registered user.

The first comment and several subsequent are marked as posted 16 hours ago?????? How is that possible the story was not u at 9:45 last night???

I was watching story came online sometime more around five am this morning I thought????

Can anyone verify?

9 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 21, 2016 at 1:58 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

@middle aged people

Good post and a reminder that nothing comes quickly and easily when it comes to renting or buying in PA. It's always been more expensive here than in neighboring cities. Kate Downing (now that's a name we won't forget for a long time) was too anxious, couldn't wait to by a $2.7M home here. I've written about our experience and why we wanted to live here, and how we finally achieved that goal. We lived in a 2 bdrm apartment...at 3151 Alma...until we saved up enough money to buy a home here. I've written before of the time period and why it was possible for firemen, teachers, gardeners, doctors, small business owners, an attorney, and many engineers, to afford to live in my neighborhood and my village, where cows used to graze in pastures.

None of what I share as history has anything to do with today's situations and problems and couldn't influence any decisions made by CC. You can't turn back time. I can share a rough timeline of when housing prices started to escalate to today's levels, and the reasons for it.

I wrote a story for my Life Stories class at Avenidas..."My Town Has Changed...And It's Still Achangin" If anybody is interested in it I can make sure you get it as an email attachment.

One post I made several years ago was in response to an article about dementia. I offered to email, as an attachment, my story from my Life Stories class, about my wife's history and eventual death from the horrible disease.

Wow, what a thrill and privilege, when I got a response from Jay Thorwaldson, the iconic writer, columnist, and editor of all of our local newspapers over the years. He invited me to have coffee with him at the Palo Alto Cafe. What a great meeting...1 1/2 hours of sharing my wife, Garnet's, story, and PA's history. We laughed about a lot of things but agreed...the Palo Alto of yore, the town we both loved and remembered has changed, and not for the better. We could remember the span and time frame when Ed Arnold was mayor, when we first moved here, all the way thru the numerous mayors until the present.

7 people like this
Posted by Town Square Moderator
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Town Square Moderator is a registered user.

@anon evergreen park

Excellent question and one we investigated this morning when we saw the same thing. Apparently our "Related stories" box that appears on our website and lists additional stories similar to the one being read had a link to the editorial even though it was not yet midnight (when our print edition is posted online.) Someone noticed the link and gained access to the editorial, then commented on it. Once that happened, it was automatically available for anyone else to comment within Town Square.

While it doesn't really matter in this instance, we are reviewing our process and our programming/coding to ensure that this doesn't happen in the future. We don't want stories or editorials to be released in this way, and the editorial should obviously not appear in the list of related stories until it is actually published on our website.

40 people like this
Posted by Hipocratocracy
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 21, 2016 at 4:39 pm

Does anyone else appreciate the irony of the Weekly criticizing Greg Tanaka for "being unable or unwilling to answer basic questions" when the Weekly seems to be unable or unwilling to answer the basic questions underlying this election themselves?

By picking two candidates from each side of an obvious political divide, [the Weekly] seems to be trying to hide in the same safe space as Mr. Tanaka. I suspect Mr. Tanaka's and the Weekly's unwillingness to answer basic questions has a common origin - an inability to separate their business interests, and their political views.

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Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 21, 2016 at 6:01 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

A good attempt at keeping a balanced division...new ideas from the young, an experienced and time tested candidate in city and county issues before, a former commissioner always on the alert for bad project proposals, and I'm still debating about that last spot. I think these are people that will listen to one another, what their constituents, the voting residents of PA, are saying, as opposed to extremist positions/opinions on either side and people outside of PA with big development and investment interests here...with their opinions and donations.

I'll read all the articles, watch the forums and candidate video interviews once more and then make my decision on who to vote for. There are some good candidates that will be left out, but my hope is that they will stick with it, stay involved, learn more about the workings of the commissions and committees, and give it another shot in two years.

I have some tough questions to pose to 4 candidates that I'll meet in a private setting soon. That might weigh into my decision.

I opened up a link to Dena Mossar's 'State of the City Address' in 2003. That same speech could be made by today's mayor, 13 years later. What's new and different?...same issues and unsolved problems, with a few exceptions. Slow and easy is our way. Actually, it's a good way. Unfortunately it didn't happen during the period of massive office growth. That will be one of my questions to one of the persons I'll get to meet with.

38 people like this
Posted by Eric
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 21, 2016 at 9:08 pm

"In terms of knowledge and experience, Kniss and Keller top the list."

Kniss has literally decades of 'experience', but when repeatedly asked, apparently can't seem to think of any accomplishments. A recommendation based on years of sitting in a chair isn't much of a recommendation.

30 people like this
Posted by Vincent
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 21, 2016 at 9:24 pm

Eric- Liz has always been a favorite of the weekly. They support every campaign she has ever run, given even as you point out her lack of any real accomplishments. Of course she has been buying ad space on this forum since mid July.

8 people like this
Posted by Old Palo Alto
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 21, 2016 at 9:34 pm

Old Palo Alto is a registered user.

As reported, large sums of money have been contributed to the Kou and Keller campaign by 5 families with [portion removed] connection to Castilleja School. The School has submitted an application to tear down 80% of their campus, build an underground garage and new classroom buildings and increase enrollment by 30%. This controversial application will likely come to City Council for a vote. I cannot vote for Kou and Keller unless they formally announce that they will, if elected, recuse themselves from all votes on the Castilleja project.

38 people like this
Posted by rainer
a resident of Mayfield
on Oct 22, 2016 at 1:10 am


The Castilleja red herring is alive and well.
As the Merc stated, even with this generous donation from true patriots, not greedy developers, thr build offices at any price, is still $12,000 ahead.

And you request from Kniss, Tanaka, Fine and McGougall that they recuse themselves from all votes on projects of the builders, architects, lawyers, etc which have donated on the order of $59,000 or more to each of them?

No you don' request thist! This would be against the market place.
Only candidate who support moderate thoughtful growth have to keep the highest Standards. Candidates supported by the gang of build-at-any-cost former mayors, and the Chamber of Commerce, they can accept whatever they want.

67 people like this
Posted by cm
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 22, 2016 at 1:11 am

Fine is extremely pro-growth and pro-development. He has toned it down for the election so voters can't really tell where he stands, but if you look back to his statements while on the planning commission he is all about growth. He will be Cory Wolbach on steroids is elected. Liz Kniss is another growther, but more low key about it. If you want to protect the quality of life in Palo Alto vote low growth - Kou, Stewart, Keller.

10 people like this
Posted by Red Herring
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 22, 2016 at 8:45 am

The "red herring" about all the money flowing in from five wealthy families is saying that the playing field is level because two candidates now have as much as four others. The last time I took arithmetic, that mean that Keller and Kou each have twice as much as any other candidate.

This election has definitely changed the norms around city politics, and not for the better. Negative ads, massive donations. We've never seen anything like this before. I thought it was bad two years ago, but that was just a taste of the big city politics we have now.

This divisiveness started with the fight over Measure D. I like Arthur Keller, and I may vote for him anyway. But I won't be voting for Lydia Kou.

10 people like this
Posted by bad precedent
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 22, 2016 at 9:07 am

I'm having a very hard time voting for Keller and Kou. I would prefer a more residentialist council but when you have a few families buying that much access and making the amount required to run in future so ridiculously high, I really don't want to set that precedent.

2 people like this
Posted by Candidate Len
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 22, 2016 at 9:52 am

Thank you all for your comments. I would like to make one correction to the article about me. It indicated that I was in favor of more "office" construction. I don't ever remember making that statement. I have said that growth is inevitable (housing, retail and office) and that we need to manage this growth while looking to a 10 to 15 year horizon.

I also want to point out that Mr. Keller was serving on the Planning and Transportation Commission, 10 to 2 years ago, when many of the developments that have become issues were allowed to move forward. I am not sure whether he was in favor of all these projects. However, if he was not, his inability to work and convince other effectivly becomes suspect, at best.

I believe that we need to cooperate with City's around us but we do need to do what works for Palo Alto and set an example for our neighbors. Lead by example. Ms. Kou has for the most part said that the "housing issue" is not Palo Alto's problem and so we have no business trying to stabilize or mitigate the jobs/housing imbalance.

Jay Thorwaldson wrote an piece for the Palo Alto Times in 1973 about how the City Council was very concerned about the job/housing imbalance in Palo Atlo. In 1973 is was 2.5 to 1. He did a follow up article in 2014 (40 years) and the ratio had increased to 3.5, the highest in the area.

If Palo Alto wants to really wants to solve the housing, parking and traffic congestion you need to not hire/elect the same people that got us to were we are now.

So, if you think that we need someone that will ask questions and be open to present new ideas and solutions then I am your candidate.

51 people like this
Posted by Standing up to Developers
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 22, 2016 at 9:57 am

Last election Greg Scharff lent himself $50,000 for his campaign and he is a real-estate lawyer and pretended to be pro-resident during campaign season but still votes for all developer exceptions just as Liz Kniss and Adrian Fine will do if elected. Kou and Keller received large donations because they have been around awhile and people have seen them consistently put their community first, stand up to developers and consistently maintain high integrity rather than just rubber stamping zoning exceptions.

14 people like this
Posted by stop spreading rumors
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 22, 2016 at 10:39 am

@rainer and others talking about big money coming in from developers - go check out financial reports and do some math. Stop repeating unfunded political propaganda that PASZ PAC publishes. No one has raised as much money as Keller and Kou individually. Ever. Period. They have a PAC backing them that just gave them each $10k this week. Look at their fancy mailer, their fancy political consultants, vide ads, full page color ads in all the local papers.... Then vote the way your conscience tells you. But please stop talking about big developer money funding the other candidates because that simply is not true.

13 people like this
Posted by follow the money
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 22, 2016 at 10:54 am


If that was the case, Kou and Keller would have a lot of smaller donation from a lot more varied people rather than a few extremely large donations from a group with a common connection.

73 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 22, 2016 at 11:31 am

Oh, the horror there's finally an ALMOST even funding playing field for the 2 "slates" of candidates. Horrors the PAF-Palantir-CoC crowd might not get carte blanche to stack every single committee with people who automatically approve and fund everything. Horrors they might have to compromise and find real solutions to real problems instead of just spouting rhetoric straight from the Downing school of pr spin.

Harping on this NON-issue undermines YOUR candidates because it's so obviously a WMD (weapon of mass DISTRACTION).

27 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 22, 2016 at 11:38 am

Once again: The new SMALL donations aren't yet public.

Once again: The funding breakdown remains unknown until the NEW contributions under $1,000 are made public.

Why are you so worried about an even playing field that you keep repeating the same WND?

20 people like this
Posted by Fred Balin
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 22, 2016 at 2:09 pm

Fred Balin is a registered user.

Online Name writes:”
“The new SMALL donations aren't yet public.”

Today is the final day of the 2d pre-election reporting period (i.e., 9/25 – 10/22). Campaign “Form 460” reports are due by Thusday the 27th, and you should be able to download any and all shortly after via Web Link .

Standing Up to Developers writes:
“Last election Greg Scharff lent himself $50,000 for his campaign”

Actually it was $60K in loans. He added an additional $10K loan after the election, in December 2014, to cover expnditures that rose to $97K. Curiously, from this vantage point, Scharff’s campaign committee remains open as does the $60K of loans as shown in the most recent filing of 6/31/16 accessible via the link above.

This stands in contrast with the 2014 city council campaign committee of A. C. Johnston, who loaned his campaign $20K to help cover his total expenditures of $59K, and then terminated his committee in January 2015.

A. C. Johnston covered his loans from his own pocket. 18 months later, however, Scharff had not. Why not? A public explanation from the council member is in order.

33 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 22, 2016 at 2:26 pm

@stop spreading rumors -- The Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce is also a PAC and an affiliate of the US Chamber of Commerce, one of the biggest, best-funded business-friendly PACs in the entire country. Which would you guess has more money, the CoC of PASZ?

And why condemn PASZ as a PAC but not the Coc?

Serious question: Is PAF a PAC? How is it structured and funded?

31 people like this
Posted by @Red Herring
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 22, 2016 at 2:38 pm

You say

" This election has definitely changed the norms around city politics". It changed when Mike Greenfield (PAFer) blogged about Pat Burt and Lydia Kou being Trump equivalents.

That's precisely when this election went 'norms' were changed, and personal attacks became par for the course.

16 people like this
Posted by Disappointed
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 22, 2016 at 2:50 pm

Very disappointed to see that Kou and Keller mailed out a hit piece on Adrian Fine, which I got in the mail today. If they are such good candidates, why did they choose to go negative on Adrian?

4 people like this
Posted by Marian
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 22, 2016 at 3:11 pm

My block does not need RPP and it is intrusive. Is there a candidate who is willing to look at where RPP is needed block by block?

I got a ticket because my RPP permit was on the inside of the car window, which of course, I have rectified. However, I am not in favor of a system which employs a lot of subcontractors to police RPP where it isn't even needed (no parked cars for 200 feet most days).

It costs a lot to make sure that parking on the public street isn't open to all:)

9 people like this
Posted by stop spreading rumors
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 22, 2016 at 5:12 pm

Dear Online Name: PAF is not a PAC, it is a non-profit volunteer org per their website, but if you check out Daily Post today you will see that Lydia Kou's treasurer Timothy Gray who was also treasurer for PASZ up until last week impersonated PAF on the web by registering them as a PAC. He was trying to prevent "evil" apparently.
Chamber of Commerce is also not a PAC, it is an association of businesses and also is a non-profit.

26 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 22, 2016 at 5:40 pm

"Timothy Gray who was also treasurer for PASZ up until last week impersonated PAF on the web by registering them as a PAC."

That's not impersonation, it's pre-emption.

PAF should have registered itself long ago to forestall this needless embarrassment. We can only note that our prime advocacy group for overdevelopment is as loose with its legal matters as it is with its thinking.

Has anybody checked PAF's registration with the IRS and FTB?

4 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 22, 2016 at 5:46 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

I'd like to stay on the main topics to consider in this election, the issues our council will be faced with. The donor contribution issue is a total distraction, but the Arthur/Kou negative campaign video and ads don't sit well with me. Unneeded, not welcomed, and won't advance you in this campaign.

And if either slate should win it all, it wouldn't destroy our town even tho the candidates would have you believe differently. So much damage has been done already, but the current council has done a good job of putting the office cap in place, the RPP, TMA, making moves on retaining retail, etc., and I don't think any of the new candidates would actually stray too far from those decisions made, no matter what they might have said offline in the past.

If I could meet with each candidate these are questions I would have:

Housing: What/how would you propose to fix the hollowed out affordable housing problem for middle income people? How would you fund it? Taxes, bonds? What is your dollar estimate to fix it in either of those scenarios?

For all the talk about providing housing for firemen, policemen, and teachers, do you know how many people you're talking about? I've heard some talk about building housing on school sites. That's the talk, so now take us on the walk. How many teachers and administration personnel work for PAUSD? I tried to find that number but wasn't able to. I'm sure this will prompt a response tho. I settled for looking at the staff at one school, Fairmeadow Elementary on East Meadow. The number there is 54. There are very few sites that have enough land to do it. Who would get preference (another lottery game?) and again, could they then afford to rent or buy there, or would the city have to step in and help them out?

Either stop the talk or offer real viable solutions that the city can afford to support. Don't use it as a campaign arguing point. If you get elected based on that, nothing will happen and people that voted for you will feel let down.

There are 121 firemen and with their work schedule they are not daily commuters. They are lucky enough to have one commute a week from their beautiful homes across the bay and beyond. They couldn't afford to live here and wouldn't want to.

There are 169 police officers on our force. They work 4/11 schedules...4 days on 4 days off, with 11 hour shifts. They don't have the easy commute luxury that our firemen have (once a week), so they have to commute more often. Unfortunately, they can't sleep at headquarters. Same question applies. How would you propose to support housing for them?

Underparked and ADU's:

These are just new ideas that haven't been tested. I'm a skeptic at this point and I don't understand why there isn't some solid information/data presented to support their case. Maybe there isn't any. So far it's just ideas and 'what we think/feel will work and is the best for PA'. People who don't want/need and won't ever own a car? C'mon! That's a very unAmerican view. lol! Certainly, with access to the Business Registry, TMA data, and direct input from the big downtown office occupiers (Palintir and others), it should be possible to gather enough information to help answer all these questions and make decisions at council.

What went wrong?:

Sorry Liz, I'm going to pick on you a little bit here, although I'm also going to vote for you. During that period of massive office growth, didn't anybody ask questions about the impact on traffic, parking, infrastructure, schools, utilities, etc., or did the developers just sell you a bill of goods to get their projects approved? Now we're suffering the consequences of those past decisions. I know, that's 'water under the bridge' or 'over the dam', so let's move on and be more alert when making decisions at council in the future. Ask for impact studies and analyses before moving forward with proposed projects.

4 people like this
Posted by endorsement
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 22, 2016 at 6:38 pm

perhaps newspapers should go back to reporting the news and not editorializing the news. we have given up on believing anything in the newspaper or even online anymore. it is all a ruse and politically motivated. what happened to the days of "news" being "news". now it is all about a one-sidedness--no matter what the subject. we are being fed a bunch of lies and for now any endorsement any newspaper gives--whether clear or hidden (as if the news is real) will not be tolerated by us. we read the newspaper with much skepticism on any subject--whether local or national. it seems that newspapers have lost their purpose in life and in protecting America. We will make our own decisions as to who to vote for in any aspect of this election--and we do NOT respect any newspaper nor look to any newspaper to give us advice on any subject. We all need to wake up and understand what is happening to Palo Alto and to this country--it is all about greed and selfishness and lies. We hope everyone makes informed and logical decisions this year before it is too late to change a dangerous trend. Many things in Palo Alto are going the wrong way and many things in our country are headed the wrong way. Don't be swayed by others. Make your own informed decisions. Newspapers and internet are filled with lies. We all are the ones who will either benefit or suffer based on what decisions we make this year.

57 people like this
Posted by negative
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 22, 2016 at 6:49 pm

Marian, perhaps residentialist candidates felt it important to letter voters know the truth about Fine. Kniss, Fine, Tanaka and McDougall sent out a joint mailer presenting themselves as advocating for safe neighborhoods and good schools and touting their endorsement by the Democratic Club. Nowhere on the mailer did they note their strong advocacy for high-density housing, which largely distinguishes them from the residentialist candidates and might not sit well with many Palo Alto residents. This omission (IMO false representation), combined with the Weekly's endorsement, make it likely that Fine could eek out a CC win as did Wolbach (IMO after also misrepresenting the extent of his pro-development views). If PAF is doubling down on their get-out-the-vote efforts; Fine, Kniss and Tanaka are running multiple daily social media ads, and the pro-development slate is sending residents deceptive mailers, it seems perfectly reasonable that residentialist candidates make the effort to let voters know Fine's true positions so they can make informed decisions this election.

61 people like this
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 22, 2016 at 8:11 pm

The pro-development candidates (Kniss, Fine & Tanaka) should own and be proud of their prior votes; they should argue for their views, rather than mask their true feelings (a la Cory Wolbach from the last election). Only then can we understand which direction the voters would like to take the city.

One can only presume that the pro-development candidates know that their positions are not popular with the electorate, and so they try to disguise or parse their statements with a bunch of wiggle room - in effect to trick the voters. Those candidates are willing to do anything to get elected - in effect, all they care about is gaining power, and I doubt very much they will represent the people of our city; instead they have their pet projects and special interests they will represent.

I've had enough of the Cory Wolbach "let's be civil until I get elected", or the Greg Scharff "I'm a residentialist until I get elected"; I'm not voting for Fine or Kniss.

56 people like this
Posted by Obvious
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 22, 2016 at 8:23 pm


They needed to send out a mailer about Adrian because he doesn't have the temerity to stand behind the positions he has represented on the PTC. He's masquerading. He needs to be held accountable.
If he believes in high density, no garages, no RPP and no office cap as he has stated while in office, then let him stand for that. Anything else is reprehensible!

43 people like this
Posted by @disappointed
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 22, 2016 at 8:26 pm

Give us a break!

You're upset because someone called him out . As 'obvious' says, let him stand by his true positions and be judged accordingly. Enough with the snow job.

35 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 22, 2016 at 8:31 pm

Dear Stop Spreading Rumors,

You're right that the US Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit but it's also a PAC and a registered lobbying group. As per Open Secrets: "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a lobbying group which represents the interests of businesses and other industry associations. Because it is a nonprofit business association organized under section 501(c)6 of the Internal Revenue Code, the Chamber does not have to disclose its donors."

Also according to Open Secrets, the US Chamber of Commerce is the LARGEST registered lobbying group in the US with 2016 spending of $52,320,000 and the 10th largest lobbyist in terms of outside spending at $24,821,569 Web Link

It is also a PAC. Web Link as per their header
Home / Influence & Lobbying / PACs / US Chamber of Commerce / Summary

Browsing around it shows 5% of their contributions go to Democrats and 95% to Republicans.

48 people like this
Posted by Timothy Gray
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 23, 2016 at 10:41 am

Does anyone else see the irony of the Big Money Developer recipients, who have actively rewarded those donors with favorable zoning decisions, crying foul and complaining that they are outspent by bigger money from people that want nothing for themselves but to preserve growth protocols that have served our town for decades?

The reactionary knee-jerk advocacy of "build-baby-build" will only erode the quality of life that attracted those people to Palo Alto in the first place. Palo Alto is worth standing up for, whether that stand means donating or working hard to expose the true motives of those that would abandon our town's historical values. I guess great support is OK as long as it is received by the traditional insiders, but if it is given in benevolence for the general community, there is a problem.

I am sure that I am not the only one to notice this hypocrisy.

4 people like this
Posted by more transparency
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 23, 2016 at 11:16 am

"from people that want nothing for themselves but to preserve growth protocols that have served our town for decades"

Unfortunately there is nothing to show that is the case. Look at the Castilleja thread and their relationships. This isn't just a random group of people. There's too much hidden in these donations and the timing, with Castilleja's application, is too convenient.

I, for one, don't want to find out AFTER the election that we've been suckered.

38 people like this
Posted by @more transparency
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 23, 2016 at 11:38 am

Let's do the math

You're saying there's a conspiracy because some people who do NOT stand to profit, but are weakly linked to ONE project that will come before the council in the next 4 years, are exercising undue influence.
But you are prepared to ignore the real economic benefit that the many developers who have given to Fine/Tanaka stand to gain for their many projects that will come before the council in the next 4 years.

I have to call BS on that. You have to understand we are a highly educated community. This sort of fluff and nonsense just doesn't pass the sniff test.

10 people like this
Posted by Create Common Ground
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 23, 2016 at 12:41 pm

The Weekly has seriously underestimated Greg Tanaka and missed the mark.
Greg embodies what we aspire to in Palo Alto; not tying ourselves to labels or categories, but thinking creatively to solve problems in new ways.

His leadership of the College Terrace Association and the Palo Alto Planning Commision provides a first indication of his resolve to find smart solutions that work well for many differing constituencies. He is a bright, forthright, earnest, and easy to work with.

Greg is uniquely qualified to lead our community in the creation of new visions leading to new common ground answers.

Marc Miller

27 people like this
Posted by Abitarian
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 23, 2016 at 1:34 pm

In the weekly edition of "Behind the Headlines", Gennady notes that there doesn't seem to be any reason to expect donations to the Kou and Keller campaigns would result in favorable treatment for the Castilleja expansion.

Given that Lydia and Arthur stand for slower growth, it seems that people who want to see a bigger Castilleja might have better luck aligning themselves with the faster growth candidates.

See Web Link

2 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 23, 2016 at 1:51 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

More on housing...

I'm making a rough estimate that there are 1500 employees in the PAUSD...including classroom teachers, administrative staff, and others, all the way down to janitors. There are 12 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, and 2 high schools. So, I think it shouldn't be an arguing point by any candidate that we can do much to help them with housing, without substantial investment by PAUSD and the city. Candidates should speak to that and not dance and give 'feel good' responses just to get votes. We are not stupid. We hold you responsible for performing on all those wonderful ideas you have and those promises you make. Of course we would all like to have our firemen, policemen, and PAUSD employees live here...and that was possible when I moved here in 1961, but it isn't possible now.

More housing: Don't ever use the 'affordable' word when you talk about PA housing unless you're talking about those who can already afford it...and there are many of them. That's why our vacancy rate is relatively low, and yet there are many who can afford $3,500/mo rents for studios and 1 bdrm apartments. I've posted many times in support of higher density housing in the downtown area, knowing it would only be used by primarily the young tech workers, singles or couples, sans kids. If it could get them to relocate here so they don't have to commute long distances that would be great. But we don't know how many of them would really want to do it, and that's what bugs me, because there are many ways to get the information needed about that.

My support: I've posted previously that I think the height limit should be raised in certain zones, and that with proper zoning changes, there probably is still space available for a couple Channing House sized projects downtown, and up in Stanford Research Park, a Park Merced size housing development.

So, in summary, shut down (moratorium), or keep limits on office growth, but let housing proceed, sans underparked and ADU's.


Lots of talk, but have any of the candidates put forward proposals for solving it that are viable and that they can influence in any way? They could serve two full terms on council and things would still be pretty much the same...IMHO. It's a regional issue with so many agencies getting involved with their own agendas, so the outlook for solving it isn't very promising.

Posted by Illegal Sign for Tanaka
a resident of University South

on Oct 23, 2016 at 2:51 pm

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Posted by @more is less
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 23, 2016 at 5:19 pm

" because some people who do NOT stand to profit, but are weakly linked to ONE project "

"1) A bunch of these donors have a connection, and some are board members at Castilleja, which is trying to expand."

"Some are board members at Castilleja": ....curiouser and curiouser

13 people like this
Posted by Frank
a resident of another community
on Oct 23, 2016 at 6:52 pm

Five years ago I lived near Palo Alto for one year, while I did a postdoc at Stanford. I was astonished at the jaw-dropping house prices. I couldn't believe that there was a town where the average home price was over a million.

Recently, I got curious -- and discovered that home prices have doubled in the last five years, to $2.4 million!!!

You do realize that this is insane, right? Stanford, one of the wealthiest universities in the world, is apparently having difficulty recruiting professors because even they can't afford to live there.

I know that Palo Altans love their community, and want it to protect it from major change. But unfortunately the economics of the technology industry have made wrenching change inevitable. Either you will build, put some downward pressure on housing prices, and allow young people to live there -- or you will ossify and become a retirement home for the rich.

With the latter choice you will protect your commute times, the availability of parking, and the physical form of the community as it is now. With the former choice you will protect the dynamism, energy, and forward-looking spirit that made Palo Alto what it was for so long, and to a great extent still is. I don't have a vote, but I hope you will vote for growth.

2 people like this
Posted by Old Palo Alto
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2016 at 6:57 pm

Old Palo Alto is a registered user.

The concern that Kou and Keller if elected would vote to approve the Castilleja expansion project could be easily put to rest now, if they state that they will recuse themselves from voting on the Castilleja project. Seems better that they state that now (and get more votes for themselves) than to be faced with public scrutiny at the time of the Castilleja vote (because they accepted large campaign donations from families with connection to Castilleja). This is a one-project issue for Kou and Keller, so seems they would want to get their positions clarified now, so they can be judged by voters on broader issues facing Palo Alto.

23 people like this
Posted by @frank
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 23, 2016 at 7:34 pm

Your understanding of the politics and the economics is pretty shallow.

There's office growth and housing growth. We needs to slow office and focus on housing. One slate has spoken against an office cap - the developer slate. The other has spoken in favor. The developer slate has also spoken against development impact fees. This is our primary way of subsidizing affordable housing.Growth without impact fees for affordable housing means the people with the least means gets squeezed out. If we want a diverse vibrant community we need to take that into account.

And to your other point about the loss of innovation and dynamism: innovation and dynamism comes with small startups and the risk takers they attract. It doesn't come with the ten thousandth employee of a large behemoth that is expanding. This is not dynamism that's just another unimaginative cog in the wheel.

Posted by Castilleja Connundrum
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

on Oct 23, 2016 at 9:13 pm

Due to violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are only visible to registered users who are logged in. Use the links at the top of the page to Register or Login.

5 people like this
Posted by True Residentialist
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 23, 2016 at 9:20 pm

Actually, many startups arise when people leave major firms. I'm not sure where you're getting your data.

And they come from Stanford University. If you deter faculty from taking jobs at Stanford by restricting housing supply and driving up prices, you won't have anyone to do your software start-ups either.

12 people like this
Posted by @true residentialist
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 23, 2016 at 10:52 pm

It's usually the people who are in early who are the innovators. They often take that energy and ability to embrace risk to other start-ups, think PayPal. But my point is that employee #5000 is rarely that guy/gal. They don't have the right risk profile. Having being involved in a number, and seen many more, that is generally the model. It's why Palo Alto was great as an incubator for facebook to grow to few hundred and Google to grow to a few hundred. There was a dynamic sense of innovation downtown, because the place was full of young innovators. Now with the Palantir monoculture that has been lost.

As for Stanford - they should take care of their own....and they are. They are completely rational

And FYI I'm not talking about restricting housing supply. I think we should grow - just sustainably. Previous councils stuffed up the housing supply equation by allowing too much office and creating the j/h imbalance.

4 people like this
Posted by Frank
a resident of another community
on Oct 24, 2016 at 9:00 am

To my critic: When I was living in the area, Palo Alto was allowing virtually no housing to be built. If that has changed significantly, then I withdraw my complaint. (That said, I visited a few months ago and went for a long walk, and I don't recall seeing any construction.)

I indeed concede that I don't know much about local office construction. In light of your criticisim, please let me clarify that it is only residential growth I'm advocating for. Regarding commercial, I don't know enough to responsibly venture an opinion.

13 people like this
Posted by Pay attention
a resident of University South
on Oct 24, 2016 at 9:13 am

Tanaka, Fine, and McDougall have all talked repeatedly about putting housing ahead of office growth. They are passionate about the subject. Lydia Kou and Arthur Keller want to reduce housing construction to the minimum level.

Remember that Adrian Fine voted against the office cap because it didn't cover Stanford Researcher Park. Tragically, he was proven right - the office cap that the Council passed was so full of holes that it didn't stop a single building!

Adrian Fine grew up in Palo Alto, and he's smart and passionate about keeping it a good place to live, as well as the open and inclusive city he grew up in. After all, he and his fiancée are planning to start a family here.

10 people like this
Posted by Pay attention
a resident of University South
on Oct 24, 2016 at 9:20 am

Arthur Keller and Lydia Kou have been spending their mega dollars on deceptive attack ads against Adrian Fine. They've said he wants to build twelve story buildings in the downtown and that he's changed his mind about issues. Well, I appreciate someone who thinks for himself and considers all perspectives before making a decision.

If you want to look at hypocrisy, look at Arthur Keller. He voted for Maybell. He voted for the SurveyMonkey building. But then he didn't get reappointed and now he's running as an arch-residentialist and a protege of PASZ. They just donated $10,000 to his campaign, from the same five donors that funded everything else.

I want someone who is open-minded and thinks for himself. I don't want someone who switches sides just because he feels slighted. Do you?

10 people like this
Posted by Pay attention
a resident of University South
on Oct 24, 2016 at 9:24 am

And one more thing - all the major affordable housing organizations opposed raising developer fees to 25%. They felt it would prevent so much housing construction that it would _reduce_ the number of affordable units built.

I actually don't know what the position of Fine and Tanaka on those fees was. But I did see Kou, Keller, and Stone support raising the fees to the level that affordable housing organization like PAHC and SV@Home opposed.

Either they are deliberately trying to stop affordable housing (of a piece with Kou's history), or they just didn't do their homework. Neither makes me think they are any kind of champion for affordable housing.

28 people like this
Posted by anon evergreen park
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 24, 2016 at 9:48 am

anon evergreen park is a registered user.

Wow , I'm reposting this earlier post so everyone can see the giant Tanaka atop a roof downtown!!!!

"The article mentions that candidate Tanaka has eight years experience on the planning commission, which has the responsibility to review laws governing local buildings. You'd think then that Tanaka's campaign would at least try to avoid putting up illegal campaign signs. Take a look at Web Link, which on the left side shows a giant rooftop sign for Tanaka on top of 102 University Avenue. Rooftop signs, including ones for political campaigns, are illegal in Palo Alto.

As the Weekly says, Tanaka was "unable or unwilling to answer basic questions about planning issues." Which may explain why he's not abiding by the city code either."

83 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 24, 2016 at 10:29 am

All elections are important, but this one is critically important to the future of Palo Alto.

We all have seen and felt the impacts of virtually unrestrained office development over the past eight to ten years.

Buildings three/four stories tall built out to the sidewalks without setbacks to offset the bulk of those buildings where one-story buildings used to be.

Traffic congestion on all major roadways in Palo Alto with little relief during day-light and early evening hours.

Residential parking permit programs are needed so residents can park in their own neighborhoods.

All this has been brought to us by City Councils that have not been sufficiently protective of the interests of the residents of Palo Alto.

The Chamber of Commerce has recommended four candidates who are decidedly pro-development and are supported by Council members (and others) who have brought us to where we are today. Extensive amounts of developer money has supported their campaigns. Do we really want or need more unrestrained office development?

We, the residents of Palo Alto, have to do better to maintain what vestiges remain of the quality of life we want to enjoy in the years ahead.

I urge you to vote for Lydia Kou, Arthur Keller, Greer Stone and Stewart Carl who will put the interests of residential Palo Altans, not developers, first and foremost. They are not anti-growth (as portrayed by some) nor are they anti-business (as portrayed by the Chamber), but are for slow and intelligent growth that respects the concerns of the residents of Palo Alto, who will have to live with all new developments for decades to come.

Posted by Me
a resident of Old Palo Alto

on Oct 25, 2016 at 6:48 am

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4 people like this
Posted by Professorville resident
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 25, 2016 at 11:23 am

Lats night at the Council meeting, a motion passed 7-1 aimed at outlawing any demolition of a one story house in Professorville. Perhaps that should go to a popular vote rather than be decided by committee.

32 people like this
Posted by some facts
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 25, 2016 at 5:33 pm

California Real Estate PAC recently donated $2500 to Fine. (Developers know where to put their money...)

Greg Tanaka: Illegal banner on downtown building .

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Adobe-Meadow

on Oct 25, 2016 at 8:34 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

25 people like this
Posted by margaret heath
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 27, 2016 at 2:13 pm

margaret heath is a registered user.

There is a big difference between neighborhood residential real estate professional and commercial real estate interests.

35 people like this
Posted by Roger Overnaut
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 27, 2016 at 3:50 pm

"I want someone who is open-minded and thinks for himself. I don't want someone who switches sides just because he feels slighted. Do you?"

No. I voted for Scharff two years ago, and I have vowed not to be fooled by a bait-and-switcher again. That's why I'm voting for the real Residentialists this round -- Carl, Keller, Kou, and Stone.

39 people like this
Posted by ritavrhel
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 27, 2016 at 10:50 pm

I have difficulty believing that anyone would not vote for Kou or Keller because 5 families gave considerable money to their campaigns. Maybe it had not been done before but this not only an important election but also an extremely unusual one.

The CoC "rare move" and "picking of favorites in the council race" (PA Weekly 10/7) was great publicity for the pro-growth slate. It presented a very slanted and biased view. Priceless publicity.

It was a "negative ad" campaign in which the chosen were considered "worthy of support" but others (the residentialists) were labeled "anti-business".

Review the records of the candidates; see how they stack up on growth, traffic and density. Don't listen to recent words stated to sway voters.

As many have written, I also voted for Cory Wolbach and have seen his previously moderate ideas turn into calls for high density. Nice person; huge disappointment.

Regarding the "negative ad" sent by Kou and Keller; I believe it was a normal reaction to the CoC's non "endorsement" endorsement. Perhaps also to the horrible attack by Mike Greenfield when he compared Mayor Burt and Ms. Kou to Donald Trump. Talk about nasty and negative.

Given the above, it was amusing when Elaine Uang wrote a letter to the editor on 10/21 (PA Weekly) stating she was shocked about Keller and Lou's "negative ad" regarding Adrian Fine. She also stated "no" to negative tactics. I believe Ms. Uang is a founder of PA Forward and the wife of Mr. Greenfield.

The Weekly's endorsement was a well written article but their endorsement of Mr. Fine contained so many caveats. I wondered why the endorsement was made. Perhaps because other candidates have "less experience"?

Ms. Kou is not against senior housing as stated by a previous writer. Protests against Maybell and the success of Prop D was not against senior housing. Rather it was against arbitrary zoning changes and over development. The majority of PA residents agreed; Prop D was the start of a more balanced City Council and changes which have moderated growth.

Thank you.

5 people like this
Posted by Best
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 28, 2016 at 9:33 pm

Looks like the Weekly endorsed Lydia Kou, Arthur Keller, Liz Kniss and Fine.

That letter in the other discussion is really misleading!

29 people like this
Posted by Vote
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 29, 2016 at 11:37 am

This Weekly Editorial sums it up very well. If you want an urban Palo Alto you have on set of candidates. If you want a local government that's listening to people that live here you have Keller, Kou, Stone and Carl. I hope those that haven't voted yet will visit their web sites and understand what candidates said before they decided to run. Then vote for Keller, Kou, Stone and Carl. Time to send a strong message to our City government and staff.

1 person likes this
Posted by Voting for Greg!
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Nov 1, 2016 at 1:54 pm

I just met Greg and his kids. I'm voting for him because he is the only one trying to make sure that family challenges are addressed in the city. For a city made up of families I find it very odd that there aren't any other candidates/council members that work and have school aged children. What happened to representation.

If you haven't met Greg yet, check out this video: Web Link

13 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Native
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 3, 2016 at 4:32 am

As noted before- push Silicon Valley jobs out to other communities that need revitalization (Oakland, Richmond, Stockton, Sacramento, Compton, East LA). Remember, the CEOs of the high tech industry mostly do not live in Palo Alto - they just want to stack in the commercial building and stack and pack housing the young workers. Instead, the CEOs enjoy the exclusivity of Portola Valley, Woodside, Hillsbourgh, sections of LAH, and Atherton. And that's a model we need to pursue: Palo Alto should be a place to primarily live, not work. In the over 50 years that I have lived in Palo Alto, the quality of life has plumbted owing to housing costs, traffic, lack of parking, loss civility (by some), and loss of local retail stores/services (Pet stores, Used books Stores, Dry Cleaners, Flower Shops, Novelty Stores, local theaters, art stores, music stores).

I am voting for the no-growth slate. And good for those five families trying to balance the field against the commercial interest to develop. If we can get Palo Alto back to the 1984 traffic levels (when I first noticed we were starting to lose the town to traffic, IT folks, and a more aggressive mind-set of a second-gold rush type professionals), that would be fantastic progress (yes, progress can mean quality of life, not just development).

We have more than enough wealth. It's time to spread that wealth out to other communities. For some, there will never be enough. Sad to learn of Cory's turncoats politics but as one of my old rock and roll song notes: "we won't be fooled again!" Which is better than singing "bad moon rising" if the any of the other so-called balance the council candidates get elected. Enough: we are done. No more building new commercial or residential spaces. In fact, I would be overjoyed if half of the firms in Palo Alto would leave based on better tax breaks or other incentives they would receive by shifting their operations to other east bay cities, other sites in California, and OTHER states to spread out the population density in California, too.

I know we can not go backwards. But if forward means more development then I stand for a permanent pause. You see, I remember what Palo Alto was like in the '60s and '70s - very groovy and our wealth was quality of life not the rat race that is often here, now.

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