News

In 'State of the City,' Scharff calls for unity, civility, housing

Mayor says Palo Alto needs to do its 'fair share' in addressing regional housing crisis

Faced with community anxieties over growth and flagging confidence in local government, Palo Alto Mayor Greg Scharff used his "State of the City" speech as a platform to advocate for more unity, more civility and more housing.

In a speech that veered from idealistic to wonky and that alluded frequently to the broader debates raging across the state and around the nation, the mayor highlighted the City Council's priorities in 2017, pledged to govern in a transparent manner and addressed the council's recent dustup over the Comprehensive Plan.

Alluding to the regional "housing crisis," Scharff said his goal for the year is to advance at least two "significant" market-rate developments and one affordable-housing project, an objective he called "modest but achievable." Scharff, who represents the city on the Association of Bay Area Governments, argued that Palo Alto is looked at regionally as "part of the problem" on housing and made the case for reversing that trend.

"Housing is a regional problem and we are not doing our fair share," Scharff told the more than 150 spectators assembled at HanaHaus on Wednesday night. "Whereas we are seen as a regional and even national leader on many issues, we sorely lag behind on housing issues."

Even as he called for more housing, Scharff predicted that in 20 years Palo Alto will look largely like it does today. The city's neighborhoods, parks and schools will "essentially remain unchanged" and single-family neighborhoods will look like they do now, he said.

"However, we need to address the impact of growth in a thoughtful and intelligent manner that thoroughly involves the community in that discussion," Scharff said. "We also need to make room for a few more people in our community. Regional pressures and traffic will continue to impact us as they do every Bay Area city and we need to strongly engage with regional partners to develop effective cross-jurisdictional solutions."

Scharff's remarks came on the heel of two council meetings in which members sparred over the Comprehensive Plan and split 5-3 in a vote to approve a four-story development on University Avenue. Scharff also took some heat from his colleagues and residents after he and four of his colleagues abruptly voted on Jan. 30 to remove all the programs from the Comprehensive Plan, the city's guiding land-use document.

While council members Tom DuBois and Karen Holman each took issue with the action, which Holman called a "radical departure" and which DuBois likened to a "hijacking" of democracy, Scharff defended it Wednesday as nothing more than a "formatting change," which relegates the programs into the appendix of the document but doesn't actually discard them.

Most of the speech, however, was devoted to broader and less divisive issues. He drew cheers when he pledged that Palo Alto will "remain an inclusive, welcoming community" and alluded to President Donald Trump's divisive rhetoric and anti-immigration efforts.

"I expect that over the next year, there will be much discussion about whether Palo Alto should not just act like a Sanctuary City, but join other progressive cities in risking the loss of federal funds and declaring politically that we stand with those in our community who most need protecting."

The city, he said, "can be a beacon to a divided nation by grappling with our most sensitive and difficult issues in a tone of respect."

"We can rise above the national discourse and preserve the quality of our own community dialogues about tough issues through respect and openness," Scharff said. "If any place can do this, it's Palo Alto, where we have an engaged citizenry who care deeply about their community."

Yet this citizenry, he noted, is also expressing increasing frustration with local government. Scharff pointed to the recently released National Citizen Survey, which showed that between 2015 and 2016, residents' overall confidence in Palo Alto government dropped by 8 percent and that there was a 10 percent drop in respondents who said they believe their local government was "generally acting in the best interest of the community." The council, he said, needs to "turn this trend around and find better and more effective ways to engage with and understand the needs of all our residents."

"This is also a moment when the quality of discourse in our national civic life has deteriorated and when polarized views and divisiveness are pervasive," Scharff said. "We take a great risk in emulating this tone, or allowing it to seep into how we communicate with each other, as we grapple with the challenges facing Palo Alto in the coming year."

Scharff singled out the comments section of Palo Alto Online and told the crowd he was "saddened and disheartened" by what he called the "increasing vitriol." He urged the Weekly to require people to use their real names when posting comments.

"We should all be accountable for what we saying the public arena," Scharff said. "Let's commit this year to building a community -- not tearing one apart."

Scharff also touched on the council's other four priorities: budget and finance, transportation, infrastructure and "healthy city" and went over some of the projects that will either be completed or advanced in the coming year. These include the newly reconstructed Palo Alto Municipal Golf Course, which is scheduled to reopen later in the year; the new police headquarters, which is now in the design phase; and new garages in downtown and on California Avenue.

"These investments in infrastructure will serve the community for many years to come and will help to enhance public safety and alleviate some of our parking challenges," Scharff said.

Read the full "State of the City" speech here.

---

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Comments

22 people like this
Posted by MP Sub
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 8, 2017 at 11:07 pm

MP Sub is a registered user.

Brilliant Speech! Palo Alto is in very capable hands and looking towards a bright future. Well done Mr. Mayor.


34 people like this
Posted by Public opinion
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 9, 2017 at 12:00 am

Our opinions about our city government aren't just down, they are very low. For example,

Overall direction that Palo Alto is taking 40% say Good or Excellent

Generally acting in the best interest of the community 44% say Good or Excellent
-down 10 points from 2014 and down 9 points from 2015
(page 2 Attachment C)

Did Mr Scharff take any responsibility for the decline?

2016 National Citizen Survey is on this page:
Web Link


68 people like this
Posted by We Need a Better Mayor
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 9, 2017 at 12:04 am

In a town awash with hidden developer contributions to certain City Council candidates and a huge plunge in public trust of the city government, our mayor instead attacks the press and residents discussing the problem who wish to remain anonymous.

It's classic misdirection. Scharff refuses to clean up City Hall and get rid of its [portion removed] legacy of developer influence. [Portion removed.]


31 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2017 at 8:06 am

I would agree about the unity and civility parts, but I would say more infrastructure improvements before any more housing.


37 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2017 at 8:45 am

As for telling PAO to insist on people using their own names, he should understand that firstly there is no way of knowing that somebody calling themselves Mickey Mouse, for example, is in fact Mickey Mouse or someone just pretending to be him.

Secondly, there is a reason why we have secret voting at the ballot box. It is to protect people and enable people to make an anonymous choice without fear of being singled out by someone who disagrees with them or blames them for making something happen which is against the trend. I think many Trump supporters, for example, are quite happy not to be known as a Trump supporter for fear of their family, their property or their character to be maligned by those who disagree. This is a real fear and is a very important part of free speech.

Anonymity should be respected, but it does not mean that anonymous posters will be uncivil or worse. If my real name was used here it would not weigh even an iota more on my opinion than my valid opinion when I am anonymous.


20 people like this
Posted by Crook
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 9, 2017 at 9:07 am

[Post removed.]


67 people like this
Posted by Ordinary Folk
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2017 at 9:26 am

Dear Weekly,
Thank you protecting our ability to speak truth to power.

Dear Mayor Scharff,
Smiling sweetly while you blthely destroy the quality of life of residents who have sacrificed their whole lives to live here, though not in your protected enclave, is not what I call civility,

Residents of Palo Alto who have lived here awhile:
It should be eminently obvious that to keep public assets for the longterm, an investment has to be made to purchase and set those areas aside from rapacious development. Silicon Valley has faced this as long as I have lived here for decades. Now is nothing new. What's new lately has been the overpopulation of offices and disproportionate (and often not transparent or honest) efforts of those interests against residents. It has not been a fair fight, evidenced by the deception around campaign financing scandal of Fine, Kniss, and Tanaka.

We must reduce the office population during the day. It is unsustainable. Some of the office space should be converted to housing to create balance, too. The housing should come from balancing office space, not from squeezing residents' quality of life further. Large companies that have outgriwn our town should be encouraged to find places they can grow, like Facebook did, which benefited both Facebook and Palo Alto.

What residents should be doing is putting together a community foundation like Los Altos has had for a long time, and which has been instrumental in protecting their quality of life. When Bol Park was going to be turned into developments, residents stepped up and saved it - and paid for it. But the days of having the leeway to put together financing after the fact are gone, The Midtown shopping center was just purchased by a developer for $15 million, and now we face fights over the transformation of that residential area into Alma-Plaza-like wasteland. If we want to maintain a reasonable town, we have to face the fact that residents need to put together a foundation with the financial backing to buy up and maintain retail areas and community assets for the future. The only reason we have school sites now us that residents rose up to stop the wholesale gutting of those assets way back when, when housing was considered the priority over schools. Buying real estate never seems like a good idea here in the short run, but in the future, it will prove the only way to prevent our town from becoming just an office park interspersed by luxury high-density housing for those offices. That seems to be the bent of this Council, and continuing to do this at the expense of residents.

If we are going to keep paying for something, it should be for a good quality of life for the future,


22 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 9, 2017 at 9:38 am

For anyone who thinks this publication is not biased towards those with more residentialist leanings, or that the author of this article, in particular, is strictly "reporting", look no further than his quote: "In a speech that veered from idealistic to wonky". Wonky is a judgment call.

Does this author not have any sense of journalistic standards? If you want to write an editorial piece, write an editorial piece in which you name call and judge to your heart's content. If you want to engage in actual reporting, leave your own judgements out of the article. Stirring the pot is modus operandi of this publication and it's subtle things like this that contribute to it.


19 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 9, 2017 at 10:09 am

Wonky (pertaining to arcane details) looks accurate and objective to me.


7 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 9, 2017 at 10:13 am

And the idealistic part also.


3 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 9, 2017 at 10:16 am

@musical, he's a writer, so he should know that the subject of his sentence is the speech, and the adjectives are idealistic and wonky. Maybe we can have the author comment or correct.


20 people like this
Posted by NOT my mayor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Feb 9, 2017 at 10:19 am

[Post removed.]


35 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 9, 2017 at 10:28 am

Unfortunately I dont have free time to listen to speeches ... actions mean more than words. Current City Council actions are not off to a promising start. The editorial summary presented in this article is pretty vague... and could be taken to mean:

more unity - everyone agree with me
more civility - if you do not agree with me, keep quiet
more housing - as soon as we get done building some more office buildings we will look for places to stuff a little more housing without realistic planning for the impacts


32 people like this
Posted by Not My Mayor Also
a resident of Mayfield
on Feb 9, 2017 at 10:33 am

I agree with, He is not my mayor. Forcing Residential Parking Permits down our throats when our area had a very low turnout on the survey results. The city staff thinks that those workers who park in Evergreen will spill over to Mayfield. In addition, all of this building, building, building, noise, noise, noise, discomfort, discomfort, discomfort, is never ending. The past three PA City Councils have destroyed the fabric and goodness of this city. Civility is a challenge when you have created a miserable living environment for us. And, its great how no one takes accountability for the discomfort that has been created, and is on-going. The city staff, and city council really think they are advancing Palo Alto. [Portion removed.]


62 people like this
Posted by Not my real name
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2017 at 10:52 am

I don't understand the council. They talk about housing, housing, housing. But then they approve all of these large commercial developments that make the jobs/housing imbalance even worse.

Either they are incredibly illogical or have a hidden agenda.


37 people like this
Posted by Completely lost faith in mayor
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 9, 2017 at 11:12 am

How ridiculous for him to be espousing more housing. I guess the articles about the council taking money from developers, and hence encouraging more housing (at the cost of quality of life in the city) is true. I am truly ashamed to be a tax paying homeowner and have such a mayor. Please, think more about the PA homeowners, and not for the interests of the developers that have paid money to council members.


47 people like this
Posted by anon Evergreen park
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Feb 9, 2017 at 11:14 am

Agree with "ordinary folk" and others who dont feel the Mayor represents residents at all.
He started out the speech with a [portion removed] defensive lecture on why he and his cohorts on council did not eviscerate the Land use section of the Comp Plain and the hard work of staff and the Citizens group over the last two years not to mention the millions spent on consultants assisting with the process.

Then he went on to enumerate the various ways in which the councils actions under his guidance would do great things for Palo Alto and residents. We have had years to watch him and to note his total allegiance with big developers and his disregard for average folks.
He approves of what amounts to the virtual selling of Palo Alto to the highest builder.

Even the choice of venue showed his allegiance to developers. Instead of the many new and beautifully restored city owned venues that are available, he chose The Hanna Haus. which is a disappointing conversion of the Varsity theatre ,after the bookstores departure, into an office building with a coffee shop, legal and office illegal, on the first floor. The entire first floor should be retail.

He called upon the editor of the weekly to require all commenters to use their real names.....which would inhibit free speech on the forum. It looks a lot like Trumps efforts to stifle and manipulate the media, in turn stifling free speech and a free press; all while he limits the participation of some of his colleagues on Council.
No....not OUR mayor.


53 people like this
Posted by PA Grandma
a resident of Mayfield
on Feb 9, 2017 at 11:14 am

Not my mayor either.

Many citizens have spent an enormous amount of time working on a Comprehensive Plan for the future of Palo Alto. To have a thinly veiled, development focused, group essentially gut the Plan, is extremely disheartening, to say the least. I spent a fair amount of time going to Candidate events before the election and talking to people running for office. Not one of them said they were going to throw the Comprehensive Plan out and do whatever they wanted to.

If they were really serious about the housing shortage, they would put a stop to development until a reasonable housing plan was put in place. Of just plain say that no development was going to be allowed unless it was housing.

You can rest assured that I will not vote for any of the five when they come up for re-election.


45 people like this
Posted by Tired Activist
a resident of Gunn High School
on Feb 9, 2017 at 11:21 am

The mayor spoke eloquently of civility. Hallelujah. However, he should set the tone by publicly apologizing to council member Holman for his shabby treatment of her at the close of Monday night's City Council meeting. That other council members tolerated that treatment of her is equally blameworthy. Let's see some class and some backbone, people. Our kids are watching you. And many adults will light their lamp by yours if you will only show them the way.


13 people like this
Posted by MP Sub
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 9, 2017 at 11:25 am

MP Sub is a registered user.

[Portion removed.]

My first question would be how many of you actually [portion removed] attended the Mayor's speech last evening? I did. If you had, you would have seen and heard multiple interruptions of his speech by audience applause and cheers. Oh, and lest I forget the STANDING OVATION he received at the end. His speech covered everything that is vital to life in PA. From moving Palo Alto ahead in transportation and infrastructure to housing issues. From the frustrations of the Comp Plan to the National Civic Day of Hacking in conjunction with the downtown Art and Innovation Lab. He also brought to light the discussion of having Palo Alto not just be a Sancturary City in name alone, but in action. So many good and positive messages in the address, yet the majority of you can only continue to harp on the bad.

So many wonderful things happening in the city, it's shameful that the majority of you can't get behind anything but your own "Let's never change a single thing because it's worked until now", mindset. The world is changing. Palo Alto is changing, and like it or not, we need a mayor who is progressive enough in their thinking that they're prepared to change with it.

[Portion removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by MP Sub
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 9, 2017 at 11:30 am

MP Sub is a registered user.

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


10 people like this
Posted by Sea Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 9, 2017 at 11:31 am

I commend Greg for presenting his vision.

We are a great city, community and we can stand together to make Palo Alto a greater community.

Let's unite, think outside the box and do things that are totally innovative.

Yes we can.


Respectfully


11 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 9, 2017 at 11:34 am

[Post removed.]


12 people like this
Posted by Jemaho
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 9, 2017 at 11:58 am

I commend the Mayor and the voters for putting the housing crisis at the top of the agenda. I wish that the new housing projects under consideration were more heavily weighted toward low and moderate income people, but I agree that Palo Alto is not doing it's fair share to address the problem.


4 people like this
Posted by MP Sub
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 9, 2017 at 12:00 pm

MP Sub is a registered user.

[Portion removed.] I wish that everyone would see beyond yesterday, last month, last decade, and realize that the city faces many challenges, ALL of which are important and need addressing.

[Portion removed.]


25 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 9, 2017 at 12:13 pm

[Portion removed.] I'm reminded of the incredible twisting and shouting about how Mayor Burt wanted to ban ALL tech jobs in PA when in fact what he said was that Pallantir was pricing small startups -- the basis for SV's existence!! -- out of the real estate market because it's a multi-billion dollar company.

I was grateful that Mayor Burt showed up at the sneaky meeting about turning Middlefield into a bike lane along with 70 residents who'd never been told about the meeting but showed up due to a neighbor going door-to-door notifying us when that should have been the city's job.

Maybe you can explain why it's so so critical to shove more cars onto Embarcadero and into the neighborhoods around Castilleja when the Town & Country intersection remains a disaster, when neighborhoods are over-loaded with parked cars, when Middlefield remains gridlocked for much of the day?

I remember a lot of brouhaha abut a Castilleja tree because a FORMER trustee donated to "residentialist" candidates but nothing about the impact hundreds more cars will have.


41 people like this
Posted by 6Djockey
a resident of Green Acres
on Feb 9, 2017 at 12:23 pm

The mayor preaching civility two days after he rudely shut off Karen Holman for civilly commenting on the state of the comp plan is very typical of his behavior. To wit, when he last ran in 2014 he ran as a residentialist--until the election was over then he reverted to the developers friend. It has been his actions that have gone a long way to getting us where we are today with too much development and too much campaign contributions coming from developers.

Clearly the five council members that are pushing development have planned to gut the comp plan for some time and have pulled it off. We residents need to learn from this experience and organize better so we can take back our town.


28 people like this
Posted by Granny Nanny
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2017 at 12:44 pm

I get the distinct feeling from the mayor, the City Council, the Planning Commission and the Architectural Committee that ordinary people are NOT WANTED in Palo Alto!

None of these entities do or say anything that is in the best interest of the residents. [Portion removed.]

If the new president ever does one thing positive, I hope it is to revoke the capital gains tax on real estate!

This town and its management, as well as some of its arrogant and excessively wealthy influential citizens, absolutely sicken the other 99% of us.

I know my extended family are anxious to " get out of Dodge"!


25 people like this
Posted by Decker Walker
a resident of Nixon School
on Feb 9, 2017 at 12:44 pm

Am I obtuse?
More housing, same roads, more congestion.
Yes, housing means more profits for developers and more taxes for the city.
And, yes, roads are expensive to build or expand, lead to more pollution, and bring in no revenue.
But how are the citizens supposed to get around the burgeoning city?
Do the planners suppose they'll sell their cars and walk or take the bus? Good luck with that.
So I guess the thinking is we'll have housing, housing, and more housing until getting around becomes impossible and then we'll move somewhere more livable.
Or maybe we'll ban cars and all get Segways???
I don't get it.


27 people like this
Posted by Sheri
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 9, 2017 at 12:45 pm

"We can rise above the national discourse and preserve the quality of our own community dialogues about tough issues through respect and openness," Scharff said.

Still waiting to see that happen. Not much evidence so far this year.


42 people like this
Posted by Crook
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 9, 2017 at 12:50 pm

The mayor is a real estate attorney. He has everything to gain financially by buttering up developers. His livelihood depends on getting legal work from developers. Talk about a conflict of interest!


18 people like this
Posted by Kettle is black
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 9, 2017 at 12:56 pm

Well stated anonymous, regarding the weekly and their modus operandi.
And to clarify an alternative fact that is being spread on this forum (and is naturally not removed by the editor) scharff did not risky sit of holman. She raised an issue that was not on the calendar and their could not be discussed at the meeting. Holman should no better, but it makes me think she did it on purpose to make the mayor look bad.


7 people like this
Posted by Kettle is black
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 9, 2017 at 12:59 pm

Correction:
Should read " scharff did not rudely cut off holman"


2 people like this
Posted by Con Man
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 9, 2017 at 1:00 pm

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by MP Sub
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 9, 2017 at 1:01 pm

MP Sub is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by MP Sub
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 9, 2017 at 1:05 pm

MP Sub is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


40 people like this
Posted by Actions speak louder than words
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 9, 2017 at 2:11 pm

Is it irony or hypocrisy that Scharff tosses around terms like "unity" and "inclusion" a couple of weeks after he and his cabal unilaterally threw away years of widespread community input for the Comp Plan? I guess it doesn't matter which term is your preference, but it's flat out insulting to be told that it's nothing but a reformatting.

I guess now that there are no specifics remaining in the Plan, he wants us to just "unite" behind whatever he wants to do?

What is the point of having a "Plan" with no substance left? Is it really a "Plan" at all?

If Scharff wants unity, the Group of Five should start by returning the citizen input to the Plan and finish the process.

And they should be very worried that both "residentialist" and "growth" participants in the Plan are furious.


19 people like this
Posted by margaret heath
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 9, 2017 at 2:17 pm

Mayor Scharff is termed out of the council in two years so he is not beholden to voters.


15 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 9, 2017 at 3:28 pm

Annette is a registered user.

@Margaret Heath - true, unless he wants to run for higher office (would not surprise me) or run for Council again in the future. I cannot figure out the allure, but it is quite clear that some people in this town can't get enough years on Council.

Have to agree with the remarks that reference the irony of this mayor calling for civility at this particular time. I am all for civility but the last two CC meetings have hardly set a good example. From what I have seen so far this year these words fall into the "Do as I say, not as I do" category.

For those of you who go to a Palo Alto based dentist: there's a petition going around that you might want to ask your dentist about.


12 people like this
Posted by Disgusting local politics
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 9, 2017 at 4:01 pm

[Post removed.]


5 people like this
Posted by True Residentialist
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 9, 2017 at 4:20 pm

[Post removed.]


14 people like this
Posted by Disgusting local politics
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 9, 2017 at 4:26 pm

[Post removed; not related to this topic.]


27 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 9, 2017 at 4:41 pm

"I can't even begin to say how I embarrassed by the number of council members who have made so many unintelligent decisions in this new term which has barely started!"

The council majority faithfully mirrors the Trump administration. God help us all.


2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Monroe Park
on Feb 9, 2017 at 6:53 pm

[Post removed.]


7 people like this
Posted by Crooks
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 9, 2017 at 7:14 pm

[Post removed.]


30 people like this
Posted by Scharff's Misleading Statement
a resident of Community Center
on Feb 9, 2017 at 7:17 pm

When Greg Said, "No programs were discarded or cancelled. Instead the direction was to bring the Comp Plan back to Council with the programs in a separate Appendix. This is in effect a formatting change that many other communities use when developing their comp plan. It allows the key goals and policies to remain in place for the long term while giving more flexibility to future City Councils to adjust implementation measures as circumstances dictate and as conditions change."

Actually, putting the programs in an appendix means they are not officially part of the comp plan and further more Greg stated at Monday's council meeting that in order for any of those programs to be implemented that they would have to be brought in front of the council by either city staff or a city council member and approved before staff could work on them. These programs were the ones that the CAC agreed were not controversial and beneficial enough to the community they should be pursued. The controversial ones were queued up for the council to vote on.


24 people like this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 9, 2017 at 7:23 pm

Were the mayor's comments about the press empty complaints, or a veiled threat to organize the real-estate industry in an effort to muzzle local reporters and citizen journalists posting anonymously in the Weekly? Will the "Weekly" stand strong and protect free speech, or cave under pressure? Time will tell.

Be careful what you wish for. Without the relief valve provided by the Weekly, the mayor might find council chambers overflowing with citizens expressing their concerns at every opportunity for public comment.


1 person likes this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 9, 2017 at 7:51 pm

"Such pessimism, Curmudgeon"

An objective observation followed by a hopeful plea. Hardly pessimism.


23 people like this
Posted by Eric
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 9, 2017 at 7:55 pm

[Portion removed.] The notion that everyone should be polite and chummy, and that we should have "...dialogues about tough issues through respect and openness", while developers pull the strings with most of the city council like cheap hand puppets and run roughshod over dissent, is laughable. No respect for Scharff.


17 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 9, 2017 at 8:00 pm

Not to worry. It's only "a formatting change????" Nothing to see. Just move along.

The mind boggles.

--- A serious point re discussions here. It's very disconcerting to find so many deleted posts. Short of personal attacks, more leeway should be considered since we all care about the community and could learn from each other. If someone is factually wrong, let the community and moderator correct the error.


25 people like this
Posted by Another tired activist
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 9, 2017 at 9:42 pm

"Without the relief valve provided by the Weekly, the mayor might find council chambers overflowing with citizens expressing their concerns at every opportunity for public comment."

Concerned Palo Altans - please, please, please do exactly that! The mayor tried his best to publicly undermine the legitimacy of concerns posted in this forum. Don't let him get away with diminishing or ignoring public comment.

Please show up and speak in person as often as you can. As long as it's only the usual suspects speaking at public meetings, the Council can tell themselves that other citizens aren't concerned. You can make a real difference by turning out and speaking up, even if it's just to say you think they're off on the wrong foot or that you want Council to do the hard work of finding compromises and balanced solutions, not offer empty words about unity and collaboration and then produce "partisan" votes over and over again.

It's not hard. Just show up, fill out a comment card (found on the table near the entrance to chambers), then hand it to the clerk who sits at the desk with the big computer screens in front of the dais. They'll call your name when it's time and you'll have up to 2 minutes to speak at the mic.

If you want to "practice" in a smaller forum, go to the next Comp Plan CAC meeting (on Tuesday, February 21 at 5:30 pm in the Embarcadero Room of the Rinconada (Main) library). The process is the same. Offer them your support and let them know you want our city's Comprehensive Plan to reflect the balance of community interests they've worked so hard to achieve.


3 people like this
Posted by Sea Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 10, 2017 at 5:49 am

Lets thank for what we have.

There are a lot of concerns, negative thoughts, pessimistic comments.

We live in Palo Alto, one of the best communities, libraries, shops, schools, trees, and people with good health and wealth.

I come to the weekly city council and use my three minutes sometimes to share what can help, suggest, impact our community and near us.

Let's be positive, not negative. WE have most of it all, we need increments of improvements. Like the mayor said, twenty years from now, Palo Alto will be about the same, with a few new buildings and few more people.

Exactly we like the way we have. Except traffic.

Our city council does not reflect TRUMP team. I sure hope the President will learn and be a good president. If you don't like his policies; vote the senate or congress out in 2018 or him in 2020.

Respectfully


8 people like this
Posted by Public opinion
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 10, 2017 at 8:44 am

Who paid for the use of this commercial venue for a city event?


5 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 10, 2017 at 8:52 am

Whether the venue was paid for or donated, somebody here will criticize.


3 people like this
Posted by MP Sub
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 10, 2017 at 9:15 am

MP Sub is a registered user.

@Curmudgeon-"The council majority faithfully mirrors the Trumph administration"? Wow...Again.

We are fortunate to be living in one of the best cities in in country, in the best country on the planet. (IMHO). This council is comprised of highly intelligent, well educated, civic minded, leaders who are doing their best to: Move the city forward, Make sure their decisions are within the realm of the law, LISTEN to the pleas of their citizenry, and attempt to compromise with one another in an effort to reach an end result that will make everyone happy, or at least one they can tolerate. NOTHING like the Trumph administration.

@Another Tired Activist- I am wondering what mayor you are speaking of with comments such as yours. While I do agree that at the council meetings, and in forums such as this, generally it is the unhappiest of our citizens that wish to be heard. I also would like to point out that our Mayor inherited this mess from Pat Burt and Karen Holman, keeping that in mind, he's doing an incredible job of staying focused and centered.

As you encourage the disheartened of our city to flood the council chambers and voice their concerns and anger, I would like to encourage our citizens that SUPPORT our hard working mayor and council to do the same. It's time to let YOUR voices be heard. Tell them you appreciate their hard work and that you understand the decisions they collectively made, while often not the popular ones, are on behalf of the good of the city and it's people, and there is simply no way to make everyone happy.

@Sea Reddy-I love your positive commentary and bright and supportive outlook. Your continued support of the council is inspiring. So nice to know I am not alone in my thoughts.





5 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Feb 10, 2017 at 11:25 am

Everyone is benefiting from the Trump presidency - the stock market, SNL has been revived - no one watched before. The ladies on "The View" get to be hysterical every day. Everyone gets to tout a point of view to energize any project. The WSJ stated that protesting is like running a marathon - it produces endomorphs which makes people feel good.

The California legislators get to sit home and complain - they don't even have to go into work and they get paid for doing nothing. And thankfully the HSR will not be federally funded. One of Brown's boondoggles to waste taxpayer money.

I hope that the PACC puts their nose to the grindstone and cleans up the outstanding projects which are left all over undone. Once that is done then lets see the end result to recalibrate what needs to be done in the future.


11 people like this
Posted by TLM
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 10, 2017 at 12:30 pm

@MP Sub,

You are singlehandedly carrying out a defense of the Mayor and all of his actions on this thread, and you keep describing him as "OUR Mayor", when you clearly do not live in Palo Alto, you are not stuck with the consequences of this council's agenda, and he is NOT YOUR MAYOR.


3 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Feb 10, 2017 at 1:13 pm

A prior ceremony for the Mayor was at the Tesla Corporate facility in the hills. That was so outstanding. And businesses who work in Palo Alto had handouts for their services. To me that was the model of city ceremonies - the businesses got to participate and be part of promoting Palo Alto. Please more of that venue with businesses participating - that is the state of city on steroids. There were more speakers who talked to the financial status of the city.


10 people like this
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2017 at 1:19 pm

Yes, I'm sure it's always exciting to feel like a bigwig and get swag from companies to ignore the responsibility to residents.


6 people like this
Posted by Abitarian
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 10, 2017 at 3:22 pm

Sea Reddy, MP Sub, and others:

In our democracy, it is a right -- even a responsibility -- of those who disagree with elected officials to voice their opinions and advocate for change.


Like this comment
Posted by MP Sub
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 10, 2017 at 4:49 pm

MP Sub is a registered user.

@TLM- I have run a business in this city for almost 20 years, he is my mayor and this is my city council. I have attended countless council meetings in the last 2 decades, and we business owners are effected by many of the same decisions as the residents. We don't love them all, but we accept them and move on.

I am NOT the only one on this thread defending our mayor and city council. Notice that several of the positive comments have received many "Likes". So, forgive me but you are simply, wrong



Like this comment
Posted by MP Sub
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 10, 2017 at 4:57 pm

MP Sub is a registered user.

@Abitarian-I could not agree with you more. Just as it is the right and responsibility of the citizenry of any community to retain a level of respect and decency when communicating with one another.

I also believe it is my right, if not responsibility, to speak my mind, albeit I am clearly in the minority on this site. These threads have become a denizen for the unhappy masses. Many of which, seem extradionarily unhappy that I am not one of them. Sorry to disappoint.


4 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2017 at 5:46 pm

Falling confidence in city government, falling belief that city government acts in the community interest (then whose interest?), and a steady-growing-for-years majority think Palo Alto is going the wrong way.

And this is because: not enough civility, half the city council didn’t want to (reformat? gut?) the comp plan, and too much unaccountable speech in the press.

There must be other theories.


1 person likes this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 10, 2017 at 8:19 pm

"We are fortunate to be living in one of the best cities in in country, in the best country on the planet. (IMHO). This council is comprised of highly intelligent, well educated, civic minded, leaders..."

I'm glad to know you are so pleased with your Menlo Park city council. We try to achieve the same on this side of the Creek, but we missed widely on this round. Can we borrow yours for a couple years?


2 people like this
Posted by MP Sub
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 10, 2017 at 8:31 pm

MP Sub is a registered user.

@Curmudgeon-As I stated in my prior post, I own a business in PA. Guess what else...I live here too. Perhaps the next time you visit your friends on the other side of the creek you can inquire about their city council. Until then, Mayor Scharff and this council is still yours, mine and ours.


10 people like this
Posted by @ crook
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 10, 2017 at 8:54 pm

[Post removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 10, 2017 at 10:34 pm

"@Curmudgeon-As I stated in my prior post, I own a business in PA. Guess what else...I live here too."

I was believing the "Posted by MP Sub _ a resident of Menlo Park" heading on your posts. So help me out here: which facts are the factual facts, and which facts are the alternate facts?


1 person likes this
Posted by Blackbeard
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 11, 2017 at 12:05 am

Blackbeard is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by @ Blackbeard
a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2017 at 6:08 am

[Post removed.]


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

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