Former TV reporter enters Palo Alto's council race | News | Palo Alto Online |

News


Former TV reporter enters Palo Alto's council race

Pat Boone says he wants to focus on traffic relief

In order for all area residents to have important local information on the coronavirus health emergency, Palo Alto Online has lifted its pay meter and is providing unlimited access to its website. We need your support to continue our important work. Please join your neighbors and become a subscribing member today.

Pat Boone is used to covering the news. Now, the veteran TV reporter is preparing to make some.

Boone, who worked in broadcast news for more than 25 years, this week declared his intent to seek a seat on the Palo Alto City Council. On Wednesday, he submitted the necessary paperwork to begin his campaign and to form an election committee.

Born in Washington, D.C., Boone has lived in New York City, Sacramento, San Diego and Sacramento before coming to Palo Alto. He said he fell in love with the city while visiting the city for various news stories here. Most recently, as a reporter for NBC Bay Area, he has led the network's coverage of former Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky, who was recalled from office last month after issuing a sentence for convicted sex offender Brock Turner that many deemed too lenient.

Boone told the Weekly that in recent years, he had found himself increasingly coming to Palo Alto on his off days to socialize and spend time in the city. He moved to Palo Alto a little over two years ago and now lives in the University South neighborhood, though he plans to move to south Palo Alto soon.

"It just feels like I've lived here all my life," Boone said.

Boone is the fifth candidate to announce his intention to run for a council seat. Incumbents Tom DuBois, Eric Filseth and Cory Wolbach had all declared their intention to seek a fresh four-year term. Alison Cormack, who chaired the 2008 campaign to rebuild local libraries, is also seeking a council seat.

Unlike the other four candidates, Boone has not led any grassroots initiatives or served on any local boards commissions. He believes, however, that he can make up for that with good ideas, hard work and a focus on the one issue that everyone agrees needs to be addressed: traffic. He says he hears stories from people who don't go home at all after work because traffic is so horrible.

"Since the time I've come here, it really hasn't changed," Boone said. "So I said, 'Don't just sit in the car and complain about it, do something about it!' I want to make sure people can get around to where they want to go."

One idea that he wants the council to explore is converting major arteries -- University Avenue, Alma Street and El Camino Real -- into one-way streets during busy commute times, thereby doubling road capacity for commuters. This would be done in conjunction with traffic-signal updates and road improvements to surrounding streets to ensure that drivers heading into the opposite direction will also have the road capacity they need.

This idea, he said, should be explored as part of a "strong infrastructure package" focused on transportation improvements.

"There needs to be a concrete decision about how to fix traffic, and how to do it soon," Boone said.

Boone said he currently works as a media coach who works with TV newsrooms and helps train reporters. He is well aware of the fact that he shares a name with the 1950s singer and motivational speaker. In fact, while living in Los Angeles, he would occasionally receive the other Pat Boone's mail, which he would then deliver to his Beverly Hills home, Pat Boone (the candidate) told the Weekly. As a journalist, he changed his name to "Rick," which he said was "a better fit for TV."

Though he hasn't been a passionate follower of local politics, Boone said he agrees with the current council's effort to encourage more housing. He said he particularly wants to focus on "affordable housing," which includes housing for both low-income individuals and public servants, including teachers and officers.

"If they work here and they make our lives better and safer, they should be able to afford a home here," Boone said. "If we cannot build the housing, we can at least do some outreach to landlords and people who own apartment buildings to see if we can at least give them rental decreases and incentives so that they can be here."

Despite being a relative newcomer to Palo Alto, he said he believes his career as a journalist is a "huge perk for being on Council."

"I always listen to both sides, I think before I make a judgment and I understand the struggles of all people across every economic spectrum," Boone said.

---

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

We need your support now more than ever. Can we count on you?

Comments

18 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 19, 2018 at 9:23 pm

Wow, I think we can all identify with his commitment to traffic, and although he wants to see more housing, I would like to hear how he thinks this can be done without destroying quality of life for those of us already living here.

I am interested in finding out more.


20 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 19, 2018 at 9:58 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Interesting. We all know traffic is getting worse in part because we keep putting the city on traffic diets WHILE adding lots of new commuters and offices.

What's Mr. Boone's take on 1) the proposed cap on office construction, 2) continued multi-million dollar spending on traffic diets and road furniture that impede through traffic, 3) below market rate housing


28 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 20, 2018 at 10:03 am

Annette is a registered user.

Based on this article, he promises to be a thoughtful candidate. I could not care less that he hasn't taken the usual steps to a Council run. In fact, I can see the advantages of that b/c it suggests that he may not be obliged to any particular group.

The next couple of weeks should be interesting; no doubt there will be some surprise candidates.


8 people like this
Posted by wayne douglass
a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2018 at 3:56 pm

Most people don't know how easy it is to run for election in this town: $25 to get your name on the ballot and 25 signatures from registered Palo Alto voters to signify that they approve of your candidacy (and you can finesse the signatures by paying $100 to the county, which runs elections.) I ran for city council in the same election that brought Tom DuBois, Eric Filseth, and Cory Wolbach as newcomers into office. In short, if you're a cheap politician, Palo Alto is a good place to start, and for $25 it was cheap enough for me.
Now WINNING an election in Palo Alto is a different story, as I found out when I was called by somebody from the East Bay who wanted to sell me (God help us) lawn signs for my campaign. "You have to spend money to make money," he told me, a vision of government so corrupt and cynical (even he belatedly realized that he had said the wrong thing) that I was disgusted, especially since the salary for winning office was $500/year. I may be a cheap politician, but I wouldn't be bought with some lawn signs.
As for Pat/Rick Boone, he would be the first black candidate for city council since Chris Gaither, who is a pretty good guy, and we all know how that worked out. I make no comment on a candidate named Pat Boone running for city council in Palo Alto. The jokes write themselves.
Gennady Sheyner writes: "One idea that he wants the council to explore is converting major arteries -- University Avenue, Alma Street and El Camino Real -- into one-way streets during busy commute times, thereby doubling road capacity for commuters." Every politician, especially a newcomer, has an issue. Mine was the homeless folk camping in their cars and RV's on Cubberley Community Center grounds (I said leave them alone because where are they going to go?); Pat's is traffic, which like public art in Palo Alto, is what journalists call an "evergreen," a topic that never dies and goes away.
Pat's idea has been tried before. After Stanford football games, side streets to Embarcadero Road are blocked off by the cops and all lanes move one way from Stanford Stadium to get traffic out of town to Highway 101. You'd better know the home game schedule if you want to get across the city on game day. The voters will decide if they want a steady (road) diet of this sort of thing. A smaller version of this strategy was tried on Churchill at Alma, where left turns onto Alma were verboten during commute hours to free up the straight-ahead lane for commuters driving to their jobs at Stanford. I leave it to the traffic gurus to explain its effectiveness (and in Palo Alto EVERYBODY is a traffic guru).
Pat will discover that redirecting traffic on other major thoroughfares is not a slam dunk. El Camino Real, for example, looks like a city street to most citizens, but it's actually a state highway under the jurisdiction of Caltrans. Palo Alto can't put up a traffic light on El Camino Real, which it once wanted to do at Ventura, without Caltrans buying in. The same is probably true on the Oregon Expressway, which is a COUNTY road. Joe Simitian will probably have to throw his weight around to accomplish anything that Palo Alto wants to happen there. And so it goes.


7 people like this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 22, 2018 at 10:24 pm

Yeah the $25 gets you on the ballot, but to really make a difference you have to — and I’m speaking as a three-time candidate — throw down the big money for blue suede shoes and such.
If he gets an endorsement from Boots Riley, I’ll vote for him.


17 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 23, 2018 at 10:41 am

Online Name is a registered user.

Redirecting traffic is certainly not a slam dunk, esp when it's almost equally heavy in both directions. The myth about people working where they live is nonsense.

I was coming back from Ladera/Portola Valley at around 3:15 on a recent Thursday and cars were gridlocked trying to get through the Apline Road/Foothill intersection in both directions and tat at the Sand Hill light,

Sand Hill itself was jammed both ways. School wasn't in session and it was too early to be all commuters.


10 people like this
Posted by jane J
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 23, 2018 at 3:54 pm

jane J is a registered user.

The only problem with people who have only lived Palo Alto as adults for a few years is that so much council time can get diverted by lengthy uninformed opinions, erroneous statements, and questions to staff. Meanwhile other council members, staff, and the public, have to twiddle their fingers waiting for that council member to get up to speed, or not. This has resulted in council not only short changing or delaying other important and sometimes time sensitive agenda items, but also running late, sometimes very late.


3 people like this
Posted by wayne douglass
a resident of another community
on Jul 23, 2018 at 5:06 pm

Jane 3 has a point, but nobody ever said democracy was efficient, let alone speedy. In many ways, attempts to make government meetings more on topic, like time limits on speakers, throttle discussion, rather than promote the frank exchange of opinion that energizes democracy. When I was a manager in high tech, I let members of my department talk their heads off in department meetings. Very often they brought up issues that had escaped me, and even their more off-the-wall ideas helped me solve issues that came up in a different context. That's how it's supposed to work.


Like this comment
Posted by vicky
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 23, 2018 at 5:17 pm

Other than the $500 payment, I have heard that there is health insurance for the rest of one's life. Is this true?


6 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 23, 2018 at 5:24 pm

As with any candidate, there are pros and cons. I see this particular candidate as being a newcomer without some of the baggage of remembering how things were "way back when", but at the same time, understanding that there are things going on that make quality of life difficult. If he is looking at the traffic issues with a fresh mind, that can only be in his favor.

As a journalist he has been trained, presumably, to keep his mind open, to seeing topics from many different perspectives and to listen to those who give good accounts of what they witness. I hope that he uses these skills as he campaigns and mixes with residents. I also hope he sees that his role would be to help those of us who live here, who are residents, rather than those who are here during the day only and think the City ought to be providing them with a home.


21 people like this
Posted by jane J
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 23, 2018 at 7:31 pm

jane J is a registered user.

@ wayne douglass

"like time limits on speakers"

I'm glad you noticed and commented on the new tactic by this year's mayor to at the last minute cut the traditional time allotted to the public who want to speak at council meetings from 3 to 2 or even 1 minute. Especially, it might appear, when there is an agenda item important to residents but about which the mayor might seem to be deliberately want to cut off dissenting opinions.

Similarly, beginning last year with Greg Scharff as mayor and now mayor Liz Kniss, both have broken with tradition by almost immediately accepting motions to vote on an agenda item before all the council members have had their turn to speak. After which comments can only be made within the narrow confines of the wording of the motion.

This certainly has the appearance of cutting off council members who might want to raise important issues or make knowledgeable observations, especially it might seem controversial items, which might not agree with the mayor's views. Indeed, sometimes the mayor accepts a motion so quickly that the public might almost be confused into thinking this might have been orchestrated in advance.

My hope is that the next mayor will revert to tradition by:

1) Allowing the public the courtesy of three minutes to speak, and only very occasionally limiting this to two minutes if there are a really exceptional number of speakers.

2) Not allowing motions before there has been at least one complete round of council members having the chance to address each agenda item before being cut off.


19 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 23, 2018 at 9:53 pm

"I'm glad you noticed and commented on the new tactic by this year's mayor to at the last minute cut the traditional time allotted to the public who want to speak at council meetings from 3 to 2 or even 1 minute. Especially, it might appear, when there is an agenda item important to residents but about which the mayor might seem to be deliberately want to cut off dissenting opinions."

It continues the hostility that Mayor Kniss treated citizens with during her first term in 2000-2001, when she cut our speaking time from 5 minutes to 3 minutes. Subsequent mayors kept the reduction.


Like this comment
Posted by Facebook User
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 31, 2018 at 7:40 am

I have just received a friend request from Rick on Facebook, he presumably is doing this to all in Palo Alto Facebook community groups.

I hope this means that he really wants to engage with the community and be willing to listen as much as to speak and that will continue after he is elected.


Like this comment
Posted by R. Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 31, 2018 at 9:07 am

QUOTE: Most people don't know how easy it is to run for election in this town: $25 to get your name on the ballot and 25 signatures from registered Palo Alto voters to signify that they approve of your candidacy

Sounds simple enough...there seems to be a lot of folks here in the Town Square forum who would make good candidates.

QUOTE: Now WINNING an election in Palo Alto is a different story,

Now that's the 'catch'...those tacky lawn signs are a waste of paper/trees/money & most folks disregard them as just another name being plastered around town come election time.

Instead (and this will still cost some $$$)…(1) have your 25+ endorsees distribute dozens of quality-made baked goods (cookies/cupcakes etc.) around town with your name on them to children & adults alike. (2) rent out a PA park for the afternoon & hold a 'get-acquainted' barbeque. (3) hire a plane with a banner promoting your candidacy (4) contact a local TV station to promote your candidacy with a 'human interest' story... make it a good one. (5) effectively convey your empathy to voters of all persuasions& leanings...this will be challenging as you must try to avoid coming off as a phony.

Once/if you do get elected, don't lose track of the 'real issues'. And if you don't get elected, you can always vent here in Town Square.


8 people like this
Posted by Esther Granderson
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 1, 2018 at 2:48 pm

>>>Once/if you do get elected, don't lose track of the 'real issues'.

Most of them do as city council-person is a stepping stone to becoming a county supervisor where even less is accomplished.


8 people like this
Posted by Lynn Ware
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 11, 2018 at 9:10 am

I'd like to hear pat's opinion about the bulb outs and roundabouts being built in Palo Alto to make the city more "bike friendly". Do you think this is a project that is improving the quality of life in Palo Alto and a wise use of taxpayer funds?


Like this comment
Posted by Seth R.
a resident of Monroe Park
on Sep 9, 2018 at 10:08 pm

[Portion removed.]


11 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 10, 2018 at 2:04 am

Online Name is a registered user.

Journalists often move around a lot, especially when working for mercurial companies. I ran through a lot of Mr. Boone's news clips and was impressed with how sensitively he covered the human interest stories. Also, working for mercurial companies like News Corp./Fox can pose a journalistic challenge.

Seth R, instead of making vague claims, please provide specifics,


4 people like this
Posted by Seriously
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 11, 2018 at 11:32 pm

I was interested in learning more about Mr. Boone. From his campaign website (Web Link) on 10/11/2018:

"I want to push for putting all of the make-shift cell towers around town to be placed underground. I want all our neighborhoods to be the beautiful, not a place for unsafe eye-sores."

Is this some attempt at humor? Am I wrong to interpret this as a complete lack of understanding of the most elementary facts of physics? I cannot vote for this man just based on this statement.


2 people like this
Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 11, 2018 at 11:58 pm

eileen is a registered user.

I am very skeptical of someone running for city council who has only lived here two years. I think Mr. Boone should spend a few more years getting to know his neighbors before jumping into public office. What's the rush?


5 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 12, 2018 at 8:03 am

His comparative new arrival in Palo Alto is not a problem for me. I think it means that he is not fixated on how things used to be. I have heard him say that certain things are not particularly familiar to him and then he goes out and finds out more about the issue. The bike bridge is one example of this.

I think that his journalistic background means that he will listen to residents and appears willing to put residents first. I would definitely like to see him win a seat.


8 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2018 at 11:40 am

Posted by Seriously, a resident of Barron Park

>> Am I wrong to interpret this as a complete lack of understanding of the most elementary facts of physics? I cannot vote for this man just based on this statement.

I saw that statement myself, but, let me turn this around and ask how many of our current CC know better themselves? More importantly, how many have shown themselves to be capable of doing the basic arithmetic regarding parking and traffic? Capable, and/or willing to do the arithmetic? A minority, clearly.


15 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 13, 2018 at 12:06 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

I approached Mr. Boone about some of his stances on our traffic problems. He not only responded to the questions, he's willing to listen and learn, traits I consider critical.

I give Mr. Boone credit for asking some of the right questions about traffic and congestion -- which is way more than I've heard from some old-timers who deny we even have traffic problems and see no conflict between putting us on costly traffic diets" while increasing office space and commuter traffic.


4 people like this
Posted by PB1102
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 13, 2018 at 1:17 pm

PB1102 is a registered user.

Hello this is Council Candidate Pat Boone, thank you all for your comments, and add more.

It’s welcomed to hear your strong opinions, advice, and appreciation. I’m honored to be in a community that care’s so much about every issue as I do.

Please continue speaking out, together we can learn from our mistakes and achieve greater triumphs. We are ONE Palo Alto!


Like this comment
Posted by Seriously
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 15, 2018 at 11:33 am

@Anon: You may have a point about other council members being STEM illiterate as well. If I saw evidence of that I would not vote for them either.


4 people like this
Posted by Procedure violations
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 15, 2018 at 6:15 pm

Jane J made some important points:

> ..tactic by this year's mayor to at the last minute cut the traditional time allotted to the public who want to speak at council meetings from 3 to 2 or even 1 minute. Especially, it might appear, when there is an agenda item important to residents but about which the mayor might seem to be deliberately want to cut off dissenting opinions.

>Similarly, beginning last year with Greg Scharff as mayor and now mayor Liz Kniss, both have broken with tradition by almost immediately accepting motions to vote on an agenda item before all the council members have had their turn to speak. After which comments can only be made within the narrow confines of the wording of the motion. <

These are extreme violations of 'The Role of the Chair' on the city's website.
Not to mention a violation of democratic process. Kniss doesn't care, her developer friends will support her and she can continue to also violate money reporting rules as long as the FPPC is afraid to sanction her (as it does other violators).


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


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

Get fact-based reporting on the COVID-19 crisis sent to your inbox daily.

'A devastating impact:' The coronavirus claims Clarke's Charcoal Broiler, Mountain View's oldest operating restaurant
By Elena Kadvany | 29 comments | 11,862 views

Coronavirus Food Safety Update + New! Insider Tips
By Laura Stec | 7 comments | 4,759 views

A Pragmatic Approach to A Trillion Trees
By Sherry Listgarten | 2 comments | 3,445 views

The University of California’s flexible policies during COVID-19
By John Raftrey and Lori McCormick | 6 comments | 2,349 views

Repairing a Disagreement with your Beloved & “Physical” vs. “Social” Distancing
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 2,206 views

 

DEADLINE EXTENDED

The 34th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult and Teen categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by April 10, 2020. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category. Sponsored by Kepler's Books, Linden Tree Books and Bell's Books.

Contest Details