Palo Alto council candidates trade barbs over negative ads

Adrian Fine calls mailer by Lydia Kou and Arthur Keller 'dishonest'

City Council candidate Adrian Fine is pushing back against a series of negative ads that his opponents Arthur Keller and Lydia Kou have issued in recent weeks, calling them unfair, dishonest and factually incorrect.

The latest escalation in Palo Alto's increasingly rancorous council race came after mailers were sent out by Keller's campaign last weekend tying Fine, who chairs the city's Planning and Transportation Commission, to developers. It alleges that nearly one-third of all of Fine's campaign contributions were made by developers or builders, “including those with projects that will appear before the City Council next year.”

Adrian Fine

Arthur Keller

Lydia Kou
“We can't afford to give developers the key to the city, but they're trying to buy our City Council,” the ad states.

The ad includes Fine's photo with the caption: “Palo Alto needs growth that is sensible and responsible -- not irresponsible, unlimited sprawl and giant buildings. We don't need Adrian Fine.”

Fine strongly disputed the accusations in the ad and said he was disappointed by Kou's and Keller's tactics. He also fought back by writing an open letter to the community, which noted that of the 11 people running for council, “only Kou and Keller have taken contributions from donors that gave more than $5,000.” His own campaign, Fine said, is funded by over 180 individual contributors, from all walks of life, with an average of $280 per donation.

Fine does have support from some developers, including Roxy Rapp, who contributed $1,000 to his campaign and Stephen Reller, who contributed $2,500. In addition, Fine received $500 contributions from each of the two partners in Windy Hill Property Ventures, the developer looking to construct an apartment building on El Camino Real and Page Mill Road.

But an analysis by the Weekly found that only about $7,000 of the more than $55,000 he has received in contributions this far came from developers. At the same time, Fine is not completely devoid of big contributions (aside from the $10,000 he contributed to his own campaign).

On Monday, he received a $2,500 contribution from the California Real Estate Political Action Committee. And on Oct. 14, he received a $5,000 contribution from Jonathan Heiliger, partner at Vertex Ventures, according to his campaign-finance statements.

Fine's other contributors include professors, tech professionals and members of the citizens group Palo Alto Forward, which advocates for more housing.

The weekend mailer came in the aftermath of an online ad that Keller and Kou created, alleging that Fine is in favor of high-rise developments. While Fine has indeed said in the past that he opposes the city's 50-foot height limit (though he also said that he is not in favor of abolishing it at this time), he argued in his response that the ad mischaracterizes his position.

“I have indeed expressed a desire to have more housing near transit -- to allow people to live close to their work, to allow older residents to retire here, and to deal with our crisis of affordability,” Fine wrote. “Never have I said we should have high-rise offices, nor have I advocated for luxury condos. Ads published by Kou and Keller were dishonest and factually incorrect.”

Keller and Kou had both accused Fine throughout the campaign of pivoting on issues to make himself more palatable to voters during the election season. They pointed to his prior opposition to the council's recently adopted annual office cap (which he initially voted against) and to statements he made during meetings of the Community Advisory Committee on the city's Comprehensive Plan (Kou, Keller and Fine are all members), purportedly downplaying the city's parking problems (Fine countered that all the quotes are snippets taken out of context).

But Fine, borrowing terminology from the national election, characterized the latest accusations as Kou and Keller “going low.”

“These attack ads have no place in Palo Alto,” Fine wrote. “I am happy to have an issues-based conversation any time with any community members, and also with Lydia and Arthur.”

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


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108 people like this
Posted by true
a resident of Mayfield
on Oct 25, 2016 at 9:50 am

The mailers simply call attention to Fine's advocacy for building more high-density housing in Palo Alto and his donations from developers. I'd suggest Fine stand by his views on housing (which he promotes on social media, which tends to target a younger audience) when he reaches out to Palo Alto residents. Instead, he is included in mailers with Kniss, Tanaka and McDougall promoting good schools and safe neighborhoods. And his letter to residents (where he notes that he grew up in Palo Alto, attended Gunn HS, rents a home in College Terrace and wants to raise his family here) again skirts the issue of bringing more high-density housing to the city. IMO Kou and Keller are doing residents a favor by clarifying where Fine stands on housing (something Fine, himself, seems reluctant to do) so they can make an educated choice.

118 people like this
Posted by Voter
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 25, 2016 at 9:53 am

This is outrageous. How dare someone use Fine's own positions to interfere with his plan to whitewash his views with banal platitudes such as "listens to both sides." Thanks to the candidates who pointed out his hypocrisy.

Adrian, why not own your views instead of trying to distort them to get elected? [Portion removed.]

79 people like this
Posted by Not so fine
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 25, 2016 at 10:03 am

Adrian Fine quotes:
"Compatibilty" is just replicating the same "community character" everywhere. It's like an evil amoeba"

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

"It's really, really annoying. I never felt we had much of a parking problem.”
(re College Terrace)

26 people like this
Posted by Concentration
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2016 at 10:07 am

Web Link

13 people like this
Posted by Hillarious
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 25, 2016 at 10:09 am

[Post removed.]

83 people like this
Posted by Norman Beamer
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 25, 2016 at 10:12 am

Much has been made of the large contributions to Keller and Kou from a few families, but the pro-growth slate has received contributions of far greater value from the endorsements of the pro-growth establishment that are in the developer's camp -- e.g., the local democratic party, whose views are radically in favor of dense development and central control of zoning by state bureaucrats; the group of pro-growth ex-mayors who got us into this overdeveloped mess in the first place; the employees of Palantir, a company trying to buy up downtown Palo Alto, and the rest of the Palo Alto establishment that favors development over neighborhood quality. So there is nothing wrong about countering this massive pro-growth push with some last minute emergency infusions of cash to get the counter-message across.

64 people like this
Posted by Scared for our future
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2016 at 10:14 am

Raising $150k from five households is scary. Using it to run deceptive negative ads is scarier.

There should be no place for this in Palo Alto. We are not a big city. We do not need big city politics.

Watching what Kou and Keller have done, watching what Timothy Gray has done... it's clear that they consider themselves so morally righteous that they don't need to abide by the norms and standards that candidates in Palo Alto have accepted for decades. If an attack is deceptive but hits against someone they don't like, that's fine. If a group advocates for more housing for people of all incomes, they are "developers" and "evil".

Put a stop to this. We can end this kind of politics if we punish the people who engage in it. Don't vote for Kou and don't vote for Keller. Vote for anyone else, anyone at all.

52 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of University South
on Oct 25, 2016 at 10:20 am

These ads are just deceptive. Fine has advocated for four-story condos downtown, and he called the height limit "arbitrary" while saying we should keep it. Sounds like a nuanced position, not flip-flopping. (Would 51 feet be more arbitrary? 45?)

Meanwhile, the plain meaning of "high-rise" is over 75', not four stories and 50'. You can look it up on Wikipedia.

Is there any evidence anywhere that Fine has advocated for buildings downtown to be over 75 feet tall? It sounds like there's just a lot of quotes taken out of context and dressed up to sound scary.

Palo Alto, you are better than this.

5 people like this
Posted by henchmen
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 25, 2016 at 10:21 am

[Post removed.]

55 people like this
Posted by future elections
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 25, 2016 at 10:29 am

All those shouting about how honorable Keller and Kou are and how they are stepping up for this community - let us ask ourselves another question: is this the kind of elections we want to have in our city going forward? We are setting the precedence for 5 millionaires buying city council (some people have called this "leveling the playing field"), a PAC pouring 10s of thousands of dollars in (not 2.5, not 5... but 10s!) a fancy Sacramento consultancy producing attack ad mailers, professional videos, etc. You should worry about Palo Alto becoming Washington DC, not Manhattan.

50 people like this
Posted by @Concentration
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 25, 2016 at 10:39 am

Thanks to the Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning folks for laying out details on how they define "developer money."

A number of people on this list of "developers" are in real estate and property management, but (as far as I can tell) not development. For instance, Brent Gullixson at Alain Pinel Realtors and Jon Goldman at Premier Properties.

Based on this definition, isn't Lydia Kou, who is a realtor associated with Keller Williams, also a developer?

It seems a little odd for a realtor to send out mailers saying that one of her rivals has been "bought" because he has accepted donations from realtors. Am I missing something?

35 people like this
Posted by financial facts
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 25, 2016 at 10:39 am

Take a look at what Keller and Kou Campaigns are taking in:

Web Link
Web Link

And let's not talk about residents interest here. These are wealthy landlords pouring insane amount of money in to keep others, less fortunate people out. It's plane and simple. Now we see how they are using this money. Don't be fooled. They stopped Maybell and they are trying to establish their dominance further and further in this city.

35 people like this
Posted by Landlords?
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 25, 2016 at 10:44 am

"These are wealthy landlords"

How do you know any of these people are landlords? PASZ certainly doesn't represent landlords - they are mostly residents who own their own homes.

48 people like this
Posted by DTN Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 25, 2016 at 10:47 am

DTN Paul is a registered user.

That Kou / Keller ad is a nice piece of Karl Rove / Lee Atwater hit politics! Given how evil developers are considered to be here in Palo Alto, they might as well have put Willie Horton or some illegal immigrants in the ad.

51 people like this
Posted by Sad turn of events
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 25, 2016 at 11:02 am

I think this is really dishonorable of Kou and Keller: they are using big money to go after a PA native with fresh - and different - ideas. It seems almost generational.

"We don't need Adrian Fine"?? Why not just come out and say, "we don't need young people, renters, the poor"? Kou and Keller have really done Palo Alto a disservice.

66 people like this
Posted by Long Time Resident
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 25, 2016 at 11:05 am

Umm, I think Keller & Kou are aligned with Greer Stone, who is also young, a renter, and a native. So it looks like their opposition to Fine is more about policy than personality. Fine is generally pro-development and has flip-flopped some. That doesn't disqualify him, esp. since he is young and expected to make mistakes. But it is worth taking into account, and certainly worth pointing out to the voters.

10 people like this
Posted by Greer?
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 25, 2016 at 11:14 am

[Post removed.]

31 people like this
Posted by @Greer?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2016 at 11:28 am

[Post removed.]

7 people like this
Posted by Greer?
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 25, 2016 at 11:33 am

[Post removed.]

37 people like this
Posted by Cory Wolbach
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 25, 2016 at 11:36 am

It's been fascinating watching the mythology of my campaign from two years ago continue to evolve, aided by a continued propaganda effort. I certainly don't recall running on "let's give everyone a teddy bear." I do recall talking about the way we interact with each other, and the importance of civility, respect, honesty, and decency. Given what we have seen at all levels in the last couple years, I firmly stand by the importance of our aspiring leaders leading by example. But that's just the style side of leadership.

My campaign's policy foci were clear and included: better transportation, including revamping our city shuttle (which we are indeed working on); finding ways to accommodate our housing needs (I was and remain unabashedly pro-housing because the region and Palo Alto are in a worsening housing crisis which hurts future and current residents alike); finding smart ways to slow down office development because decades of office growth without transportation and housing to accommodate it has worsened traffic and unaffordability (after a good discussion on Council, I supported the office cap as a temporary measure, and I still think higher impact fees for housing, transportation, parks, and schools might be a superior long-term tool for limiting office growth and making sure developers pay for their impacts); improving neighborhood engagement through neighborhood meetings (which we started last year, spurred by a colleagues memo I authored with others); and moving away from PCs to a more community-led local planning process like Specific Plans (aka Coordinated Area Plans or Precise Plans, which I continue to push my colleagues and staff to utilize). I ran on ideas and have tried to put those ideas into policy during my first 22 months on Council. I stand by my record as representing my goals stated throughout my campaign.

Luckily, there is a record we can look to to evaluate not only my race from two years ago but also those who ran that year with me and those running this year. We can look to the mailers which were sent and the interviews on Palo Alto Online, as well as candidate statements in the official voter guide. Anyone who says I pretended to be anything other than pro-housing, or that I ran a campaign lacking policy substance or that I have radically changed positions is free to make up whatever they would like. Lots of politicians and their surrogates make such baseless claims about their opponents. But if people do their homework, the reality is clear. Palo Alto is better than fact-free attacks.

As for people remaining open to changing their views over time as they learn more about the issues and hear from the others, simply in the abstract, I would hope we would encourage that. (E.g. I have seen one candidate become more supportive of affordable housing over time, to her credit!) That's the point of discourse, listening, and keeping an open mind. Whether engaging with a candidate, an elected official, a neighbor, or a friend, I hope whenever I talk with someone that I can learn something from them and maybe they might learn something from me, even if we begin with clear and divergent views. This sort of intellectually honest discourse is made easier when we are respectful, which is the main reason I have always said that how we engage with each other matters. Have I been perfect in that regard? No. Sometimes I forget to mind my manners too, I'll be the first to admit. But that doesn't make it any less important.

For the most part, I think we all ran a mostly positive campaign with a focus on the issues in 2014. I have indeed been dismayed by the negative and dishonest attack ads funded by a couple of campaigns this year. I did expect more of them, but I haven't given up hope that they will return to an issues-focused campaign which also demonstrates the best in civic style. There are a couple weeks left in this election. Let's be proud of them. We'll all still be working together for a long time after this contentious election is over.

34 people like this
Posted by @ Greer? (Not an independent candidate)
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 25, 2016 at 11:46 am

We know little about Greer Stone, you are right. He talks a good talk (joshing about how he likes San Francisco for Giants). Smooth. From what we can tell: He has just graduated from law school and I believe he just turned 27. For the past 3 years he has been on the Human Relations Commission with 8 others meeting once a month. He lives with his mother, apparently. Does he have a job? If so, I haven't heard of it.

What we do know is he has been "big time" pushed forward by Keller, Kou, Holman, Filseth and Dubois and... PASZ. he is not an independent candidate. He is not experienced, although others (those who are pushing for him) have said (in emails sent out to huge mailing lists) that he is a "fast learner" and he is being used by a group that has been pressing forward with dirty tricks: Negative advertising, huge donations from rich families and, now, attempts to steal the identity of the opposing party. Remind me why he is a credible candidate except for people who blindly support PASZ and the no growth movement?

Sick of the smear campaign I am. And you? All this talk about how Adrian Fine is influenced by developers is merely a smear campaign: baloney (put out by PASZ, Kou, Keller, Stone and the so called "residentialists".Adrian Fine: Vote for a young man (30) who has spent the enormous amounts of time,in his college studies, his career and by working for Palo Alto city government in a volunteer position: Adrian Fine. He IS an independent candidate.He has integrity, speaks his own mind, and is extremely familiar with Palo Alto, his home town. Oh, and he and his fiancée are renters, i.e. they pay with their own income for rent and don't live with a parent. To repeat: Adrian Fine IS an independent candidate and thinker.

55 people like this
Posted by anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2016 at 11:53 am

It is pathetic when candidates consider their own statements and record (even when linked to their actual statements) to be "negative campaigning" when pointed out to voters.

Taking responsibility for one's self - here statements and positions - are the hallmark of a worthy candidate deserving the trust of voters.

Trying to blame the messenger disqualifies you for "worthy candidate" status. You did this to yourselves - no one else did.

20 people like this
Posted by moderate
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 25, 2016 at 11:57 am

[Post removed.]

78 people like this
Posted by The Real Adrian Fine - Quotes
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 25, 2016 at 12:01 pm

The reason I don't trust Adrian is he had a very strong pro-growth agenda up until he started running for city council. Changing his view prior to then would have appeared legitimate but it was not until he was about to start running that he realized his views might not get him elected. He also changed his behavior from being arrogant and dismissive of residents to acting humble and listening. Here are some of Adrian's quotes before he started campaigning:

“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

If you vote for Adrian you have only yourself to blame as you've been warned countless times.

@Cory - Often all 8 other council members are voting one way and you are voting another, often without explanation. You have also made some thoughtless and disparaging comments of the community such as this Facebook quote: Web Link

67 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 25, 2016 at 12:02 pm

"The mailers simply call attention to Fine's advocacy for building more high-density housing in Palo Alto and his donations from developers."

History repeats:

Heckler: "Give 'em hell, Harry!"

Harry Truman: “I never did give them hell. I just told the truth, and they thought it was hell.”

42 people like this
Posted by fascinating
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 25, 2016 at 12:12 pm

I think it's fascinating that Kou, Keller, Greer, and Carl are convinced they can't win against a moderate who supports adding some apartment buildings near our downtown areas. So convinced, that they need to instead paint him as some crazy development hungry hippo who wants to build office high rises in Palo Alto. Not once has he actually proposed anything related to office development or high-rises (high rises are 12 stories and up). What I've heard is support for 4 story buildings near transit, with the possibility of letting people go a few feet above 50 where architectural style and resident comfort would necessitate, which sounds very reasonable to me.

40 people like this
Posted by Alexa Hersh
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 25, 2016 at 12:19 pm

I like that Mr. Fine is wiling to politely challenge the status quo. His performance in the forums and in his weekly interview (he got their endorsement) demonstrated a young professional who understands issues, has nuanced positions, and is not playing to any one side. His response to negative campaigning against him was measured, thoughtful and pragmatic - exactly what we need on city council

54 people like this
Posted by Long Time Resident
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 25, 2016 at 12:23 pm

Read this interview with Fine, from Aug of this year. He is very clearly pro-development, "build baby build." If that's what you want, vote for him. But let's not pretend he's something else.

Web Link

"These regulations are at fault. As is frankly the attitude of folks who have their single family homes. They're happy with them...."

"We're in such a deep [housing] hole right now. There's not much of a point of imagining the long-term future until we begin addressing the current problem.... We've been under-building for 40 years."

40 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Grandma
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 25, 2016 at 12:31 pm

I was not going to vote for Kou or Keller for other reasons - I don't trust Kou and think her platform is fuzzy and I think Keller is on a power trip - but their introduction of negative campaign ads into the race has convinced me that I was right. That kind of behavior is unacceptable, either at the National or the Local level.

I will vote for Adrian Fine, not because he has been the victim of an unwarranted attack, but because he is clearly intelligent, I am impressed with him as a person, he appears to be level headed, and when I had the opportunity to speak to him, he actually listened to what I had to say.

15 people like this
Posted by Go Adrian!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2016 at 12:59 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]

30 people like this
Posted by The Real Adrian Fine - Quotes
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 25, 2016 at 1:00 pm

Adrian Fine is also quoted as saying about the 50 foot height limit:

"it's from the 1970s, and 50 feet is pretty arbitrary. It was just kind of chosen out of thin air at the time."

Doug Moran: Uh, no. It wasn't arbitrary, and it is not credible that Fine doesn't know this. Read the link above for the full and informative blog post Doug just made earlier today:

Web Link

14 people like this
Posted by Go Adrian!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2016 at 1:15 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]

54 people like this
Posted by Midtowners
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 25, 2016 at 1:25 pm

Midtowners is a registered user.

In 2014 Pro-developer candidates indulged a whisper campaign to falsely smear Residentialist candidates as secret tea party extremists. The local Democratic party withheld their endorsement of a democrat City Council candidate on the stated, yet demonstrably false, grounds that he had endorsed a non-democrat.

This year, Cory Wolbach, Kate Downing and Mike Greenfield (PAF founder Elaine Huang's husband) have aggressively perpetrated a social media campaign to falsely link Residentialist concerns to the values of Donald Trump, while at the same time ginning up a generational us against them antagonism. Adrian Fine has jumped on that bandwagon, announcing his opposition to "building a wall around our community" in his kick off speech and highlighting a statement that one generation has been "screwed" by another. In a complete reversal of loyalties, the local Democratic party this year endorsed two candidates who didn't join the party until spring/summer of this year, when they decided to run for Palo Alto City Council. The Chamber of Commerce took the unprecedented action of "supporting" specific candidates in a widely distributed, inflammatory letter so riddled with falsehoods that (to their credit) some of the very candidates they supported objected to it (Don McDougall and Liz Kniss).

Those "low" politics are not "kind" and they do indeed undermine civic trust and discourse, touted by Mr. Wolbach himself as so vital. But they're not new to Palo Alto. And they are objectively different from campaign ads holding another candidate accountable for his own statements, votes and policy preferences.

22 people like this
Posted by never ending
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 25, 2016 at 1:26 pm

Wow, what do these people have to do for the Weekly to rescind their endorsement? After the Facebook ads, mailers, "impersonation", ...

Seriously, when will you re-visit your recommendations?

29 people like this
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2016 at 1:59 pm

People need to delve down on Fine's statements, such as for "affordable housing" - the realities if that statement hintge on the delusional belief that increasing buulding will ever bring down prices here. The support is only to the extent that it supports their increased density agenda.

Advocates should be wary since residents are far more willing to embrace affordable housing, even as a density exception, if they are not being forced to take the dense urban transformation of our town for the benefit of developers and those who want to use downtown as their own private office park.

Fine should own his views. The fact that he does not shoukd be a big red warning flag. The divisive politics through grinning teeth is another.

6 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 25, 2016 at 2:05 pm

California is a blue state so presume that the majority of people are Democrats. I think you need to stop on the D vs R tangent for the purposes of a City Council seat. If you assume that everyone is a Democrat then the argument is about how the city is run and rate of growth. The city is 26 square miles and not all is owned by R-1 property owners. Much of that 26 miles is owned by the government agencies for transportation, the city school systems, commercial entities, open space, county owned property, etc.
So the R-1 property owners are already at a disadvantage as are the PAF people for major growth. We are not talking about 26 square miles but a reduced number of workable miles of available for residents. And everyone has a voice in how those available miles are managed.

16 people like this
Posted by True Residentialist
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 25, 2016 at 2:12 pm


To residentialists, the law of supply and demand stops at the Palo Alto border. It's an alternate universe here, apparently. (Which may be somewhat true, but beside the point.)

@Citizen is arguing that we'll never be able to able to build enough housing to dramatically reduce costs, so why even start. Read Hirschman's "The Rhetoric of Reaction."

This is Hirschman's fallacy of Futility: We can't completely solve our problems with policy, so why even try?

I like Adrian Fine's approach. Sure, it will take a lot of work to rebalance jobs and housing, but we're not going to do it without building more housing where it should be built.

Since we're not realistically going to push jobs out of Palo Alto, what's Lydia Kou's solution?

42 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 25, 2016 at 2:18 pm

> Wolbach: "For the most part, I think we all ran a mostly positive campaign with a focus on the issues in 2014. I have indeed been dismayed by the negative and dishonest attack ads ..."

Wolbach is rewriting history. The introduction to the Weekly's Council endorsements gives a sense of how negative the campaigning was(Web Link): "...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."

Then there was a PAC controlled by prominent members of the campaign teams of the pro-development candidates that ran extensive ads during the final days of the campaign filled with falsehoods about the Residentialist candidates and endorsing the pro-development candidates (my blog "A reprehensible political ad" Web Link). Contrary to the Code of Fair Campaign Practices, Wolbach (and others) failed to repudiate this activity.

And the whispering campaigns (again contrary to the Code of Fair Campaign Practices).

And remember that Wolbach endorsed the article equating Mayor Burt and candidate Kou to Donald Trump and falsely characterized Residentialists on a range of issues. Yet he objects to negative campaigning.

15 people like this
Posted by True Residentialist
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 25, 2016 at 2:31 pm

Looks like supporters of the Kou/Keller campaign aren't satisfied with smearing Fine in consultant-produced lit pieces and Facebook videos. They also dump their Fine opposition research file on Palo Alto Online forums from time to time. Good work guys.

Yes, let's read Adrian's quote from his Vox interview. It seems to be a pretty reasonable expression of the idea that there are some single family homeowners who "have got theirs" and aren't interested in sharing it with anyone else who might join the community. This seems to be a fair summary of the so-called "residentialist" Kou/Keller platform.

There are many other homeowners in Palo Alto--myself included--who agree with Fine that we don't get to impose an embargo on new housing in this town just because we bought a home here. This isn't a private club, it's an open community that gets to regulate housing, NOT shut it down entirely. Yes, my home value has nearly doubled since 2012 because of this town's [portion removed] policies, but I'd gladly give some of that back in exchange for more local housing stock. And as a progressive I don't see how I can hold any other position. In the same way, even though my wife and I make over $400,000 per year, we support progressive taxation because it's the right position to hold. "I've got mine" is no way to go through life.

Here's the entire quote from the Vox interview. Really, unless you are the kind of person who believes being a homeowner gives you the right to use your vote to slam shut the gates of your community, nothing said here is should be even remotely offensive.

Fine's allegedly radical idea seems to be that Palo Alto should build more housing so people can live near work!

TBL: The average home in Palo Alto now costs $2.5 million. How did Palo Alto’s housing shortage get so severe?

AF: Palo Alto has a history as a suburban college town. But as Silicon Valley grew and became this center of innovation and dynamic companies and success, more people wanted to move there. Yet over the last 30 or 40 years, we've added increasing zoning regulations and really limited the production of both market-rate and affordable housing.

This is a story that's shared by a lot of American cities: In the 1950s and 1960s we built tract homes and suburbs. Then we ceased building and increased regulation.

These regulations are at fault. As is frankly the attitude of folks who have their single family homes. They're happy with them; they don't want more people. Some folks are talking about reducing and limiting jobs.

There are also folks who tell me to get out of town. That hurts. I was born and raised here. I pay a hell of a lot, and I work my butt off to live here.

There's been a number of stories of hacker hotels in Palo Alto where 10 to 15 young professionals all live in a two-bedroom house. That's bad for the neighborhood, bad for neighborhood impacts, and bad for the professionals. But they don't have any other choice. If they're going to work here, they need to live near here too.

10 people like this
Posted by @Cory
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 25, 2016 at 2:32 pm

@Cory is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

32 people like this
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2016 at 2:50 pm

@Fake Residentialist,

That's quite a self-serving revisionist view of history. Having lived through several booms in Silicon Valley, I can tell you the only thing different about this one is that interest rates are a lot lower, and the tech workers more plentiful and making far more money relative to costs, with a much higher expectation of disposable income.

You write "my home value has nearly doubled since 2012 because of this town's NIMBY policies". Every boom, home prices go up. I knew a man who was over 100 years old who used to like to tell everyone that people said he was crazy to spend $5,000 on a house here - this was when it wasn't even Palo Alto. There clearly wasn't anyone with what you call "NIMBY policies" then. That's the law of supply and demand.

And yes, give then we have real constraints here, and overbuilding of office space that has created a workforce three times the population, we should NOT try to create housing for that many people, because most of them won't even be working the same job in a few years. There is no rational reason that should be the answer to the overbuilding of office space. It's only in the interest of a few companies who want to make downtown Palo Alto their own office park, largely at taxpayer expense for the infrastructure. Now they want to make it a company town with lots of close dense housing.

This is a really large nation with a tremendous amount of space and many, many cities in want of development money, companies, and workers -- even space to create your own where none exist today for no other reason than that historically it didn't make sense in a world that doesn't exist anymore. Have at it. That shouldn't hurt. What hurts is you making three times what we do while taking potshots and making nasty comments about our wanting to keep a reasonable quality of life we sacrificed mightily for to continue raising our family here.

Palo Alto has been a desirable place for 100 years, because of the climate and the low-key environment. It has been a center of innovation and unaffordable as long as I have lived here, this is nothing new. What is new is the bashing of residents. As long as you continue to do that over and over and over again, repeating yourself with the same nasty sentiments against residents over and over and over again on these threads, expect pushback. If you are so keen to have cheap dense housing, there are so many opportunities in this nation where you would be welcome and doing people a favor. Have at it.

51 people like this
Posted by Root Cause
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 25, 2016 at 2:58 pm

The reason housing prices have gone up is because high tech is growing at a very rapid pace and it is more profitable for developers to build office space than housing, which is why so much of the new development has been office space in the last 5 years. In addition, offices have been increasing the density of their workers in existing spaces. Furthermore, as folks continue to become millionaires via their successful startups, they are willing to pay a premium to live in Palo Alto with its great schools and city services. Blaming NIMBYs instead of the root cause assumes voters are uninformed. To summarize my view of the residentialist vs. the actual pro-development camp differences:

Residentialists: (Kou, Keller, Stone & Stewart)
* Keep and strengthen the office cap so the most profitable option becomes housing
* Increase below market housing requirement from 15% to 25%
* Require new development to be sufficiently parked for the actual amount of parking they will use
* Keep the 50 foot height limit
* Will not give away free upzoning to developers
* Reduce employee cars parked in residential neighborhoods over time
* Strongly defend RPP
* Enforce zoning
* Allow growth at a rate our infrastructure can handle

Pro-development: (in particular Adrian Fine)
* Fought the office cap
* Fighting increasing the below market housing requirement from 15% to 25%
* State that building lots of market rate micro units (which will rent at $3,500 to $6,000 per month) will solve the housing affordability crisis
* Have continually objected to the 50 foot height limit and their desire to remove it
* Tend to vote for free upzoning for developers
* Tend to approve underparked development resulting in spillover into residential neighborhoods
* Tend to embrace the weak promise that future transportation problems will mitigate current projects they are approving
* Tend to approve oversized buildings not compatible with the existing neighborhoods
* Resisted RPP
* Not serious about enforcing zoning

What both sides agree on is:
* Need to allow retail + housing zoning
* The need to invest in improved public transportation

57 people like this
Posted by Fine = Risky
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 25, 2016 at 2:59 pm

Anyone who says (for publication!) "We've been under-building for 40 years" when they've only been alive for 30 years seems dangerous to me. Their view is driven more by ideology than facts and experience. They want what they want and are willing to interpret facts, even history, to suit their narrative.

Fine might ripen up in a few years, we'll see. But right now he looks like a risky bet to me.

29 people like this
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2016 at 2:59 pm

The other reason we should not try to create so much rental housing here in particular, except for really low-income workers in the community, is that rental housing has historically been the worst for stability. The only way to get stability in this area, and I speak from having had to watch the market closely for most of the time I've lived here just to survive, is to buy. For most of us, that means sustained sacrifice under really substandard living conditions that are usually worse than renting for the duration. But with renting, there is no way to get ahead or get control. Encouraging lots of rental housing without rent control is just transforming Palo Alto from an expensive nice place to a not nice expensive place with dense housing.

If we just keep sticking our heads in the and going along with the cries to "build baby build" as you advocate, the "crises" will only continue, because rents will always go up and up to whatever the market will bear. Just look at Manhattan, Hong Kong, Tokyo, any large city that tried to build its way to affordability. Can't happen. Luckily, the US is not a tiny island, and you can have what you want by becoming a pioneer and remembering that there is a big country out there, some of whom want what you are peddling. I wish you the best with it.

48 people like this
Posted by Not so fine
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 25, 2016 at 3:10 pm

Cory is recycling the metaphoric teddy bears that got him get elected. People thought he was in favor of Below Market housing. Turned out he is a zealot for ALL development.
He is recycling the teddybears and giving them to Adrian Fine who now is sending out a message "Keep Palo Alto Kind."
Translation, don't remind people of what I said and how I voted. [Portion removed.] And the money from developers who know what I really stand for, don't pay attention to it.

These well known development advocates know exactly what they are paying for:
Cory Wolbach
Marc Berman
Larry Klein
John Barton
Victor Ojakian
Dena Mossar
Heidi Emberling
Camille Townsend
Dan Garber - Arrillaga project architect
Eric Rosenblum - Palantir and PTC
Kate Downing - former PTC
Lee Lippert
Michael Alcheck
Mila Zelkha (Palantir)
Sandra Slater,PAF, designer and builder
Owen Byrd

22 people like this
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2016 at 3:10 pm

@Fake Residentialist,

One way you could create an opportunity to get the urbanscape you desire is to move to San Francisco, you clearly can afford it. Another way is to move to San Jose and work to create the vibrancy they WANT in downtown - they WANT that vibrant urban landscape.

Probably the biggest reason the companies trying to take over downtown are trying to do that is proximity to Stanford. You could help achieve your dream a lot easier by convincing Stanford that maybe it's time to create a satellite campus somewhere new. It would no doubt be instantly successful, and create the anchor for moving several companies. If you choose right, it could be an amazing venture. Just remember, though, millenials actually prefer suburbs by a vast maority, because of the space. (Look at what Stanford has done to attract talent, created neighborhoods of ultra large cheaper homes around the university.)

14 people like this
Posted by Cory Wolbach
a resident of Palo Verde
on Oct 25, 2016 at 3:25 pm

On Palo Alto Online forums including your own blog, you have a long habit of misrepresenting our 1-on-1 conversations and my positions (which you know are consistent in public and in private). Your credibility, particularly when it comes to me, is seriously suspect.

I hated the independent expenditure (IE) ad by the so-called "establishment" in 2014, even though it "supported" me. As an IE, I was not involved, but if I had been, I would have told them not to do it. It was unfair to those it critiqued and not helpful to those it supported. Its tone was awful too. It's a classic example of IEs being poorly-conceived and counter-productive.

Aa for whisper campaigns, perhaps you refer to the ongoing whisper campaign about me being "in the pocket of developers" when I refused to accept developer donations. I even returned a check from one who assured me he was retired.

On my supposed "misrepresentation" of "Residentialists" associated with PASZ, I actually hope you are correct, that I have misunderstood them. I would be happy to learn that they actually do agree with the State of California, The White House, and the vast bulk of urban planning research which stands against the restrictive housing policies. Those policies obstruct economic mobility; contribute to displacement and economic strain for long-time Palo Alto residents and workers; contribute to urban sprawl; and contribute to de-facto economic and racial segregation. In my view, history will stand against those restrictive housing policies.

To be clear, uncontrolled growth without consideration of the impacts is not advocated by any Palo Altan in office or running for office that I know of. But some of us place a higher premium on our duty to be more inclusive and support housing policies toward that end. This isn't pro-developer. This is pro-people. This is pro-resident, including the nearly half of Palo Altans who pay rent and struggle to make ends meet. We remain willing to roll up our sleeves to figure out how to do that while preserving the best of Palo Alto. Are those associated with PASZ willing to do the same? I hope they are. I'd truly be happy to be wrong on this. My "Residentialist" friends and I agree on so many other issues, it would be great to find more common ground on this issue as well.

33 people like this
Posted by @Cory
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 25, 2016 at 3:37 pm

@Cory is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

9 people like this
Posted by True Residentialist
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 25, 2016 at 3:58 pm

@Fake Residentialist,

"One way you could create an opportunity to get the urbanscape you desire is to move to San Francisco, you clearly can afford it. Another way is to move to San Jose and work to create the vibrancy they WANT in downtown - they WANT that vibrant urban landscape."

Here, in a nutshell, is the attitude and the Catch-22 of the Palo Alto NIMBY. If you don't agree with our vision of static suburban sprawl and prioritizing ever-abundant parking lots, GTFO! We'll set housing policy so you don't have a choice, anyway. Sure, you currently bike to your job and barely put any traffic on the road, but it's more important for us to push you from our community so that we can have "adequately parked" neighborhoods. Just please don't clog our roads or use our parking spots when you have to drive from over an hour away to reach your job here.

36 people like this
Posted by Uncontrolled growth
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Oct 25, 2016 at 4:04 pm

Cory -

For the 300,000 additional people who want to live in Palo Alto, how many additional homes are we ethically obliged to build?






Does the obligation stem primarily from the jobs, especially good jobs being here? Or primarily from the good weather, or Stanford?

47 people like this
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2016 at 4:10 pm

@Cory Wolbach,
When you mention the half of Palo Altans who rent and struggle to make ends meet, are you implying that those who own do not struggle to make ends meet? Have you ever heard the term "house poor"? Do you know what it's like to give up everything, any chance of traveling to visit family for 20 years, necessary medical care, even wearing a wedding ring because there is no way to wear one when joints become swollen? Having lived here long enough, it was obvious that kind of sacrifice was the better alternative to renting. And it was obvious that achieving it involved serious sustained pain and sacrifice.

If you want to be more inclusive, how about starting with the mobility impaired who make up 10% of our population, who can't even visit the kind of dense stack-and-pack housing the City has almost exclusively been encouraging in recent years? Don't you have a duty to disabled residents, too? Our City is almost impossible to get around for someone who is wheelchair bound, and getting worse, shutting out the disabled from the prosperity of Silicon Valley when they already have a tougher time getting and keeping employment than anyone else. I think you actually have a legal duty to them, one that has been almost entirely abrogated by the overbuilding practices your approach has encouraged.

As near as I can tell, both you and Adrian Fine object to anyone characterizing your policies and approach as anything but euphemisms that mislead people into thinking they might include anything but increasing densification of Palo Alto. You now have a seriously pro-density voting record, so you can no longer whine about people saying that. Part of being nice to others is also speaking in good faith.

15 people like this
Posted by Guilt Free
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 25, 2016 at 4:13 pm

Any voters feeling a twinge of guilt at the thought of voting for Lydia Kou and Arthur Keller can always atone for their sins by also casting a vote for Stewart Carl who has voluntarily limited his campaign contributions to less than $250 per Palo Alto resident. Greer Stone is also running a low budget campaign, but made the mistake of getting a little bit pregnant.

41 people like this
Posted by Nice Try
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 25, 2016 at 4:23 pm


Interesting that you made no effort to disavow the attack ad made in your benefit prior to the 2014 election. If you feel as strongly about it as you now claim, why wait two years?

Also, you continue to cast aspersions on the Maybell neighbors, even dipping into insinuations laced with racial overtones, while ignoring that much of the debate was over a large market rate upzoning that would have greatly enriched a third party developer. [Portion removed.]

Cory Wolbach, on the IE attack ad placed immediately prior to last election:

"I hated the independent expenditure (IE) ad by the so-called "establishment" in 2014, even though it "supported" me. As an IE, I was not involved, but if I had been, I would have told them not to do it. It was unfair to those it critiqued and not helpful to those it supported. Its tone was awful too. It's a classic example of IEs being poorly-conceived and counter-productive."

36 people like this
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2016 at 4:44 pm

@Fake Residentialist,

I have just given you a really attractive roadmap to getting what you clearly want, a dense urban cityscape utopia. I not only have given you some great ideas, especially about the Stanford satellite campus, it was quite sincere. But you attack me for it. Having myself been involved in creating civic assets for people who need them, changing laws, solving major civic problems, etc, I had no way of knowing that what you said about what you want is just for show and that you really have no interest in being part of building what you say you want in a positive and attainable way. [Portion removed.]

You have also just characterized Palo Alto as "static urban sprawl" - as if you hate it here. Why would you take issue with my suggesting more positive alternatives to get you what you say you really want? You seem to want it badly enough that you want to tear down what's here, lambast anyone who lives in a home they sacrificed decades to live in and evict them in favor of dense development. Isn't it easier to take that, even nearby like San Jose, where it is wanted?

Just a reminder, you are misusing the word "NIMBY" for your own selfish develoment agenda. NIMBY applies to people who espouse a certain view about a social issue, like mixed-race or low-income neighborhoods, but only if those things happen somewhere (unspecified) else, not near them. It is NOT an appropriate term in relationship to people who disagree about overdevelopment. It's NOT even an appropriate term for people who wish Palantir would move out of downtown/their backyard and take their development agenda with them. I am not suggesting overdevelopment is a good idea here instead of there, I don't think it's good here or anywhere else. By definition, that has nothing to do with NIMBYism except that you are, like the PAF crowd, misusing the term for your own purposes to try to get the upper hand in a development discussion (again).

I think your vision even of cities is stuck in the distant past and will hurt liveability, the environment, solar access, and walkability, among much else, and hurt even the innovations we could make with autonomous vehicles in the future. But since you seem so angry at residents who want Palo Alto to be a liveable college town and not become a San Jose Mini-me, I have suggested a way for you to get everything you want. Put your energy into doing something positive rather than tearing down others like you are doing here in this conversation and through the views you have just expressed. San Jose officials have even talked on camera about how they WANT neoyuppies like you. It's not NIMBYism for me or anyone else to not want what YOU want. You hurt the power of the term when it is needed by people for social justice reasons when you overuse and misuse it like that, just name calling. Instead of calling you names like you have me, I have made constructive suggestions. I do so as someone who has been involved in creating civic assets for other people in need. "Have at it" was meant as encouragement. You CAN make a positive difference with your goals, where people want the same thing. That is far preferable to destroying a wonderful quality of life and hurting families who have sacrificed mightily to put down roots here [portion removed.]

4 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 25, 2016 at 5:37 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

Thanks Cory,

There have been too many accusations and false statements made on both sides in this campaign. I was very clear, and I think you were clear, about your positions when I supported you in 2014 and, even though we now disagree on some issues, I don't like people comparing you to Adrian Fine and his new enlightened positions and agenda.

You know my positions on almost everything thanks to that great 2 1/2 hour meeting with you in my home. How many residents ever get that privilege?

Thanks for that!

47 people like this
Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 25, 2016 at 6:20 pm

@ Cory Wolbach: "I hated the independent expenditure (IE) ad by the so-called "establishment" in 2014, even though it 'supported' me."

The Code of Fair Campaign Practices (Web Link.) states:
(6) I SHALL IMMEDIATELY AND PUBLICLY REPUDIATE support deriving from any individual or group that resorts, on behalf of my candidacy or in opposition to that of my opponent, to the methods and tactics that I condemn. I shall accept responsibility to take firm action against any subordinate who violates any provision of this code or the laws governing elections.

"I hated" falls far short of "publicly repudiate". One of the people behind the PAC was one of your campaign's Honorary Co-chairs (typically functions as a fund-raiser).

3 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 25, 2016 at 7:36 pm

As to comment above on SU - they are building a new campus in Redwood City. There is already a SU Medical Center observable near 101. This has all been worked out and in process. To think that SU is sitting around waiting for PA to work out it's problems you can forget it. They can take their marbles elsewhere. And they have substantial property in Menlo Park that is on the books for development. So please quit using SU as a bargaining tool because they have many options. What you are left with is the amount of land available for development in PA and that is very limited. The obvious area for redevelopment is along El Camino between Oregon and Charleston. There are buildings sitting there empty and falling apart. Also East Bayshore area - those are old buildings that can be redeveloped. If you can't talk about the obvious areas then don't talk about the R-1 areas. You will have a fight on your hands.

46 people like this
Posted by rita vrhel
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 25, 2016 at 8:55 pm

Is a campaign negative or engaging in "mud slinging" if it states a candidate's previous statements? I think not.

Is a campaign negative when it compares Mayor Burt and Ms. Kou to Donald Trump? Yes, that would meet my definition.

Again look at the candidates' public statements; past and present. Compare the two; changes in direction will be obvious.

18 people like this
Posted by Don't elect Fine
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 25, 2016 at 10:32 pm

[Post removed,]

34 people like this
Posted by PA Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 25, 2016 at 10:38 pm

Vote the Residentialist ticket. Vote for Keller, Kou, Stewart and Stone.

Residentialists get their political donations from the residents of Palo Alto. They represent the interest of residents and small businesses. They are also for affordable housing that serves the community.

9 people like this
Posted by Attacking our own
a resident of Monroe Park
on Oct 25, 2016 at 11:07 pm

Not cool for candidates and commenters to attack our own. Adrian Fine has kept his campaign clean and above board, focused on issues. Kou and Keller prefer to pick on others.

24 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 25, 2016 at 11:14 pm

To Resident - you say "the obvious place for redevelopment is along el Camino from Oregon Expressway to Charleston".

You mean in the Barron Park and Ventura neighborhoods. It's mostly all residential just in back of the neighborhood serving businesses lining ECR - small markets, restaurants, tailors, stores, a few medical offices and animal vets, etc.

Be very careful when you blithely suggest for someone else's neighborhood for "redevelopment" - meaning what - loss of our retail to tech offices and market rate housing? Not if our retail protection and office caps remain strong in this town.

Vote Kou, stone and Keller to protect our neighborhoods.

8 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 26, 2016 at 3:27 am

My comment on El Camino between Oregon and Charleston is due to a number of buildings that are empty, have been empty for a while. If property is SO VALUABLE - as they keep telling us - then why are there long standing empty buildings? We have a number of groups who would love to change R-1 housing areas into multiple dwelling units - we must be low hanging fruit - while there are empty buildings that show no maintenance. We keep coming back to the same problem that the owners of those old buildings are making no effort for maintenance and usage. And we keep being told that new housing needs to be on established travel routes with bus lines. Someone who owns those older buildings are paying a very low property tax. What ever arguments the people who are running want to make they have to address the issue of lack of use of properties that have no maintenance. Don't come after R-1 housing as a focus of effort if there are big holes in the overall city plan.

40 people like this
Posted by rita vrhel
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 26, 2016 at 5:35 am

Dear attacking our own: I must disagree with your post.

Can One keep heir campaign "clean" by changing their point of view on transportation, housing, office development caps and height limits? And changing party affiliations months before the Democratic endorsements are awarded?

I think not. When that occurs it is the responsibility of others to bring forward previous statements in order to inform others. Many voters are swayed by a candidates' current verbiage as they do not have time to delve into public records,etc to discover a candidates' previous beliefs.

I know I was fooled last election and have regreted not digging deeper.

Thisis a very important election with the Comp Plan coming before the City Council for updating; it will provid a guideline for Palo Alto for the next 15 years.

I am voting for Kou, Keller and Stone.

10 people like this
Posted by @Rita
a resident of Monroe Park
on Oct 26, 2016 at 10:02 am

Keeping our political discourse "clean" means that candidates should be polite and represent their views it honestly. It also means they should give the voting public true information.

Kou and Keller's attack ad included factually incorrect information on Adrian Fine's funding, snippets of statements that when read in full, have a totally different meaning.. Oh and top of that, this attack ad was funded by two candidates where 80%+ of their funding comes from 5 families (Web Link)

Finally, and most frighteningly, the ad said "we don't need Adrian Fine". What if they said that about your friend, neighbor, or parents?

24 people like this
Posted by rita vrhel
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 26, 2016 at 10:52 am

@ Rita:

I would so love if all those who post would use their real name. You have mine but I do not know yours. I have no idea who you are.Why not use your real name?

That said I have no problem with 5 families donating a large mount of money to the candidates they support. That is their right. At least they used their real names and stated why they were donating.

As a 999.00 donor to Lydia Kou and a 500.00 donor to Arthur Keller I must say... Thank you!

I would have donated more if I was able. I will also be working to keep Casti from expanding; and I can work very hard. So does that pit me against these 5 families; I don't believe so. We are supporting the same candidates.

I do not believe either candidate will "sell out" in regards to Casti; each have worked too hard against special zoning exceptions, PCs and up-zoning to switch their beliefs now.

It reminds me of the insane number of glossy political flyers we all received last year from strange sounding groups supporting Mr. Berman for State Assembly. Never an individual donor name listed. At least these 5 families are up front and identified themselves.

I am sure the ad implied we don't need Adrian Fine (on the City Council) even if not stated verbatim. Maybe the wording could have been softer?

But I agree other candidates are better for maintaining the Palo Alto everybody wants to live in.

I also have heard Mr. Fine state different opinions on traffic, zoning, the Comp Plan, housing density and height limits at CAC meetings. It is all a matter of public record.

Can will agree to disagree?

28 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 26, 2016 at 10:53 am

"To be clear, uncontrolled growth without consideration of the impacts is not advocated by any Palo Altan in office or running for office that I know of. "

Except it is supported by the same city council member who wrote these words, since the record indicates he has never met a development project he didn't like and is strongly against an office cap, which means he is seriously disinterested in the impacts of uncontrolled growth. Just like in his campaign back in 2014, he has disguised and misrepresented his extreme pro urbanization, massive densification and limitless development views.

8 people like this
Posted by Alice Schaffer Smith
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 26, 2016 at 11:45 am

The tone of the campaign and the amounts of money in this year's Palo Alto council election are indicative of the growing wealth from residential real estate in Palo Alto. Many residents have become multi-millionaires in the past 4 years arising from the huge growth in single family housing prices particularly fueled by foreign money (from questionable funds) using Palo Alto housing stock as an alternative to the stock market.

I think decisions such as Citizens United (and the failure of the Clean Money campaign because disclosing the major funders for political ads was prevented by the Republican Senators in Sacramento) result in dark money in politics buying up political power.

The attack ads (both sent to my home as a flyer by mail and in the Palo Alto Weekly) against Adrian Fine are indicative of the lack of civility now permeating even our local politics.

3 people like this
Posted by Casual Observer
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 26, 2016 at 12:13 pm

Wasn't Keller part of the Planning Commission when much of the downtown development was approved? Seems ironic that his position now is so anti-growth and critical of Fine (and Tanaka) when he allowed the very same thing to happen under his tenure.

23 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 26, 2016 at 12:52 pm

@Casual Observer, here's a better question:

Fine and Tanaka are running the most dysfunctional Planning and Transportation Committee in the history of Palo Alto. The current PTC can't even work with, and has only feuded with the City Council. How can Fine and Tanaka claim their experience on the PTC qualifies them for office since both aren't suitable for the positions they have now?

20 people like this
Posted by Confused
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 26, 2016 at 2:50 pm

Adrian Fine was on the Planning & Transportation Commission, and voted to remove the 50 foot height limit. Now that he is running for office, he says he would not change the 50 foot height limit until the Comprehesive Plan is passed. When posters bring out this contradiction, Adrian Fine says this is taken out of context.

One can go on and on with Fine and his comments that he now claims "are taken out of context". Mr. Fine, you should stand up for you beliefs, not try to dupe the electorate.

You see, we all got duped by Wolbach, who claimed he wanted to "civil" and wouldn't disclose his true support of high density development. Many feel you are trying to "Wolbach" the electorate, and we are much more suspicious of candidates who espouses one set of views during the election, but has a history of doing the opposite.

5 people like this
Posted by @confused
a resident of Ventura
on Oct 26, 2016 at 3:00 pm

On the planning commission, Mr Fine never voted to remove the height limit. Check your facts.

18 people like this
Posted by rita vrhel
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 26, 2016 at 3:59 pm

Dear Casual Observer... please check out Mr.. Keller's votes in his 9 years on the Planning and Transportation Commission.

Just because he was on a the PTC does not mean he is responsible for Palo Alto's current office space over development.

Also please remember Mr. Keller was removed from the PTC by the previous pro-growth City Council after the last CC election two years ago. Many felt it was a "parting shot" at the incoming the new CC. Of course later Arthur was recognized for his many years of service on the PTC.

Yes I was present at the City Council meeting where the current PTC members sat on the dais with the current CC and were given a sharp rebuke for overstepping their duties. I believe the PTC was chastised for trying to make policy rather than following established City policy.

It was a very interesting meeting. It also is part of the public record.

25 people like this
Posted by Abitarian
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 26, 2016 at 5:33 pm

While I would choose a different communication style, it is fair game for Lydia Kou and Arthur Keller to highlight their opponents' prior statements, votes, etc.

For example, in 2015, City Council tasked the Planning and Transportation Commission (PTC) to propose reforms to the Planned Community (PC) zoning process.

PC projects offer developers zoning exemptions in exchange for community benefits. A fine idea in principle, but many officials and residents felt the process had been abused, granting developers significant concessions for few, if any, tangible benefits.

When the PTC presented its recommendations, many citizens were shocked to see the proposal included a new idea to allow developers to offer cash payments to the city in exchange for zoning exceptions. Many felt the ability to "buy" zoning exemptions as rife for corruption; some called it bribery, pure and simple.

Eric Rosenblum was reported to be the only member of the PTC to vote against the cash for exceptions plan, meaning Adrian Fine and Greg Tanaka both supported the scheme.

Ultimately, City Council did not move ahead with the PTC suggestions, but the exercise gives voters valuable insight into the type of proposals Mr. Fine and Mr. Tanaka might support if they are elected.

See Web Link

2 people like this
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 27, 2016 at 9:56 pm

SEA_SEELAM REDDY is a registered user.

Please be nice to each other and be kind.

It is distasteful to put down your opponent to gain a win.


18 people like this
Posted by OutsideMoney
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Oct 27, 2016 at 11:05 pm

Today's campaign filings are fascinating. 40% of Fine's donations are from outside Palo Alto. What do these people expect for their money?

13 people like this
Posted by @OutsideMoney
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 28, 2016 at 9:21 am

@OutsideMoney is a registered user.

Wow, that is an amazing and scary stat, but also not a surprising one. I really hope people understand who is behind this PAF/Downing/Fine campaign. Where can we find the campaign filings?

2 people like this
Posted by Campaign finance
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 29, 2016 at 10:25 am

@ @OutsideMoney: See Web Link

The searches don't work, but you can click on the links below. That includes for 2014 where you can see Greg Scharff's report from 12/31/2014 showing $97,551 in cash contributions received, including a $60,000 loan from himself.

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