News

Push to scrap downtown cap meets resistance

Palo Alto's planning commissioners vote not to eliminate existing 350,000-square-foot limit on downtown's non-residential growth

A divisive proposal to eliminate the limit on commercial development in downtown Palo Alto ran into a wall of resistance Wednesday night, when the city's Planning and Transportation Commission opted not to advance the change.

In a decision that ran counter to wishes of the City Council majority and that overruled the recommendation of planning staff, the commission voted 4-0 to keep in place -- at least for the time being -- the existing 350,000-square-foot cap on non-residential development in downtown.

Commissioner Michael Alcheck abstained from the vote, while commissioners Przemek Gardias and William Riggs were absent.

The vote followed testimony from about 20 residents, including members of the group Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning, which favors slow-growth policies and which is spearheading a November initiative that would halve the citywide cap on non-residential growth. Every speaker urged the commission to keep the cap in place. They pointed to downtown's ongoing parking and traffic problems and argued that taking up the issue at this time -- just months before the voters are set to opine on the issue of office growth -- is an affront to democracy.

"Why are we rushing to do this?" asked Arthur Keller, a former planning commissioner who co-chaired a citizens group that helped revise the Comprehensive Plan. "You should say no and not implement this change. Instead, implement changes that we need, like rental protections."

Some pointed to the pending evictions of residents from President Hotel, an apartment building on University Avenue that the new property owner, Adventurous Journeys Capital Partners, is looking to convert back to a hotel. By eliminating the limit on downtown's non-residential growth --- which covers new hotels -- the city is just making it easier for the new property owner to proceed with its plan and eliminate 75 housing units, said Joe Hirsch, a member of the PASZ steering committee and one of the leaders of the November initiative.

Though it's not clear what impact, if any, the downtown cap will have on the President Hotel proposal (which is subject to a zoning dispute between the city and AJ Capital), Hirsch and others argued that removing the cap would only make it easier for property owners to convert downtown's residential buildings into commercial ones.

"We urge you not to be a part of the process that will in essence evict the residents of (President Hotel) apartments, some of whom have been living in downtown Palo Alto for a long period of time," Hirsch said.

The tense tenor of the discussion -- and the fact that this item was even being debated -- seemed to catch some of the planning commissioners and city staff off guard. Commissioner Doria Summa, who vehemently opposed the removal of the downtown cap, said the commission didn't learn that the item will be on its agenda until reading about it in a newspaper on Friday. Deputy City Attorney Albert Yang acknowledged after the hearing that staff did not expect the issue to be this controversial.

The proposal to scrap the cap was prompted by the City Council's 5-4 vote in January 2017 to remove from the Comprehensive Plan a long-standing policy that established the 350,000-square-foot limit and that required the city to perform a study on growth impacts when development reaches 235,000 square feet, which it did in 2013.

Now, with the new Comprehensive Plan in place, planning staff is going through the process of turning the plan's guidance into actual zoning laws. For the downtown cap, this would mean eliminating a program that has been in existence since 1998 and that is based on a study that the council performed in 1986.

Rather than doing that, members of the planning commission argued that they don't have enough information to remove the cap and that doing so would be inconsistent with other council priorities, including encouraging more housing and protecting residential neighborhoods from the traffic and parking impacts of too much commercial development.

Furthermore, given the politically delicate nature of the exercise -- as evidenced by a crowd of residents protesting the change -- the planning commission agreed that the decision is best left to the council.

Summa noted that 18 months had passed since the council's controversial 5-4 vote. Since then, she said, the council has taken a unified stance to encourage more housing and curtail the impacts of commercial development. Given its new focus, the direction from January 2017 should be reconsidered, she said.

"Removing the commercial cap from downtown will disincentive housing and create more offices that will contribute to the existing problems that our former council members in 1986 were smart enough to see," Summa said.

Some of her colleagues argued that the commission should focus on more important priorities -- namely, reforming the zoning code to support below-market-rate housing -- rather than remove an existing restriction on commercial growth. With its vote, the commission effectively threw the hot-potato issue back to the council to deal with.

The five members who supported the removal of the downtown cap -- Mayor Liz Kniss and council members Adrian Fine, Greg Scharff, Greg Tanaka and Cory Wolbach -- argued that the restriction is unnecessary because of other restrictions that the city has in place.

The Comprehensive Plan already includes a citywide cap of 1.7 million square feet on new commercial development -- a threshold that would be halved to 850,000 square feet if the November initiative is successful. In addition, the city had recently adopted an annual cap of 50,000 square feet on new office and research-and-development growth in the downtown area, around California Avenue and along El Camino Real.

Commissioner Asher Waldfogel led the charge Wednesday by making a motion to support the staff recommendation to remove the downtown cap. He then immediately said that he plans to vote against his motion. The council, he argued, has created a number of contradicting policies in the new plan, which seeks to (among many other goals) promote housing and reduce the intrusion of downtown employees into residential neighborhoods. By eliminating the downtown cap, as the council's five-member majority had recommended 18 months ago, the city is "solving a non-problem."

He also pointed to the unfortunate timing.

"Taking this one right now just looks like it's undermining the democratic process and we shouldn't do that," Waldfogel said.

---

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

What is community worth to you?
Support local journalism.

Comments

92 people like this
Posted by Thank Goodness
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 26, 2018 at 10:14 am

Thank goodness four commissioners understood that Downtown needs solutions for traffic, parking, housing, and resident protection. We don't need more tech offices, which is what developers keep building.

Let's hope the pro-growth members of the City Council are listening. They should let the moratorium kick in and make it permanent. We'll get a much better Downtown for everyone.


22 people like this
Posted by Wondering??
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2018 at 11:09 am

Do anyone know how, or why, this proposal was put before the P&T Commission? Was there any kind of supporting documentation made public why anyone wanted this cap modified?


53 people like this
Posted by Arthur Keller
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 26, 2018 at 11:19 am

Not one speaker from the public spoke in favor of removing the cap on Downtown non-residential space.

Even when there is no additional non-residential space allowed downtown, when an existing one story retail building is replaced by a multi-story building with residential space, the mixed use requirement is met by the required retention of retail space. Commissioner Alcheck argued that no new residential space could be built if the cap remained in place.

Furthermore, it is perfectly legal for multiple constraints on development to apply, from floor area ratio limits, to annual growth limits, to area and citywide limits. Commissioner Alcheck argued that the changed the changed citywide and annual growth limits conflicted with the older Downtown limits (or cap). They do not conflict, but rather, they collectively limit non-residential growth.

Let us see how well Transportation Demand Management programs work, let's get Residential Preferential Parking Permit program working, let's see what happens with the Stanford General Use Permit process, and let's see what happens with the completion of the Stanford Medical Center before we consider removing the Downtown cap on non-residential office space.

We are already seeing carmageddon on the routes through Crescent Park from Downtown. Now is not the time to allow office growth Downtown.

Caltrain is already at capacity at the Palo Alto station. Projected increased capacity is just enough to satisfy the increased demand from the Stanford Medical Center expansion. There's very limited room for increased Caltrain use from new office space Downtown.


54 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 26, 2018 at 11:32 am

Online Name is a registered user.

Let's hope indeed.

"Commissioner Asher Waldfogel ...argued..the city> council, has created a number of contradicting policies in the new plan, which seeks to (among many other goals) promote housing and reduce the intrusion of downtown employees into residential neighborhoods. By eliminating the downtown cap, as the council's five-member majority had recommended 18 months ago, the city is "solving a non-problem."

He also pointed to the unfortunate timing.

"Taking this one right now just looks like it's undermining the democratic process and we shouldn't do that," Waldfogel said."

It does. Instead of addressing the need to address thge CC"s contradictory policies, Commissioner Michael Alcheck, who abstained, launched into a lengthy attack on the person who sounded the alarm about the agenda item, resulting in residents exercising their democratic rights by attending the meeting, writing to the commissioners, cc etc.

His attack on the resident went on so long the PTC chair and residents in the audience finally had to stop him.

Let's hope the CC addresses the "contradictory" policies that are so problematic -- parking, traffic, jobs/housing imbalance.


63 people like this
Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 26, 2018 at 11:32 am

Novelera is a registered user.

This vote by the Planning Commission is the first encouraging thing I've heard in a long while from our city government. It was frankly outrageous that our pro-growth majority wanted to circumvent an upcoming citizen's vote on the issue by pushing through this complete revocation of any cap.

Kudos to the citizens who attended and scared them a bit. Pitchforks and flaming torches would not have been too extreme!


67 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 26, 2018 at 11:35 am

Annette is a registered user.

"Deputy City Attorney Albert Yang acknowledged after the hearing that staff did not expect the issue to be this controversial."

It's getting impossible to not show evidence of exasperation with Staff. Last week an informed member of the public provided critical information to the Planning Dept about its own grandfathering clause, now we learn that the PTC wasn't provided advance notice of a controversial agenda item, and now we also read that Staff didn't expect the issue to be as controversial as it is.

Are they not paying attention to what is going on or do they not care? OF COURSE the elimination of the cap is controversial. We are living in a city that builds offices instead of homes, that has so little housing inventory that the tenants of the Hotel President are unlikely to find housing in their own home town, and that has policies that are confusing, conflated, and conflicting (go ahead - sing that to the tune of Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered). We've built ourselves into a situation of needing caps.

And I think it is a good thing that there's controversy because that shows that residents still care about this community and the people in it.


19 people like this
Posted by eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 26, 2018 at 12:14 pm

eileen is a registered user.

We should be putting housing in and around the downtown area where people want to live instead of offices.
El Camino is not a great place for new housing. Who wants to live on a busy, noisy, exhaust filled street?
Housing near a vibrant, restaurant filled area is much better than a busy street with endless trucks, busses, cars etc wizzing by! If we need more office space, put it on El Camino. What we don't need is evicting 75 long term residents in order to add another hotel in the downtown area right next to another hotel! $$$$ is the motive.


29 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 26, 2018 at 12:16 pm

Thank you, Palo Alto Weekly, for your extensive coverage of this topic. I want to read as much as possible about it to better understand the topic AND city politics/machinations. I’m grateful we have high quality journalism in this locale!
If you’re following this important thread, please encourage other residents to do so also. We need more to follow what’s happening, and to gain in-depth understanding.


42 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 26, 2018 at 1:25 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

Just asking! How did this get on the agenda? Who put it there and why didn't the commission know about it until they read it in the newspaper? The commission made the right decision.

It's no wonder our residents are getting very upset with our CC majority. Wild and crazy ideas that aren't serving.our community very well and ignoring input from residents on important quality of life issues, the usual ones...traffic, parking, transportation...(now add bike boulevards) and having to beg (tax, tax, tax...TOT and soda) for money for minimal infrastructure improvements and pension obligations. And unrealistic and unattainable goals set for housing, e.g., one original proposal for 10,000 new housing units in the Comprehensive Plan. That was scaled back, but how are we doing so far on the 300 units per year plan?

Just asking!


4 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 26, 2018 at 1:54 pm

"like rental protections.""

"reforming the zoning code to support below-market-rate housing "

JESUS. Just a parade of bad ideas that continue to hollow out the middle class. Soon, Palo Alto will just be rich folks and the people who serve them.


28 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of University South
on Jul 26, 2018 at 2:01 pm

My understanding is that it was on the agenda because Wolbach, Scharff, Fine and the rest of the council majority already made a policy decision last year to eliminate the cap on downtown office. It took the Planning Dept this long to get it to the commission to review implementation. Now it goes back to the same council, but with an opposing recommendation from the PTC. That will be the interesting meeting to pay attention to. Will Wolbach reverse himself again to try to get re elected?


50 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 26, 2018 at 2:04 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Good question re whether Wolbach will reverse himself to try to get re-elected. Also, shouldn't Mayor Kniss recuse herself since she's still under investigation for campaign funding irregularities re contributions from developers? What's the precedent in such cases?


56 people like this
Posted by Fred Balin
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 26, 2018 at 2:19 pm

Fred Balin is a registered user.

On February 14, and prior to either my or the public's knowledge of Commissioner Michael Alcheck's Carport-to-Garage Conversion Caper, I utilized allotted time from other residents to detail a series of procedural violations, unfounded accusations, and disrespectful behavior during a single item at the previous P&TC meeting on January 31. I concluded by noting the steep cost to the commission’s smooth functioning and standing with the citizenry, my belief that more such incidents would occur, and a call for the commissioner's resignation.

Two and a half weeks later, I had the key information in hand and basic research completed with regard to Michael Alcheck’s two-step plan. First in 2015, to gain an exception to zoning in order to build a “carport," where the intent of the municipal code did not allow it, on two adjacent "tear-down" properties in which he had an economic interest. And then, two years later with construction nearing completion and lawyer in hand, to convince the city to allow him to convert the carports to garages.

I informed the council and filed a formal complaint with the city at the March 7 council meeting. An investigation by the Weekly added additional important details, and the public (frequently through Town Square) added more.

No action was, or has been, taken by the city attorney or the city council.

Nor has Alcheck’s inappropriate behavior abated. Last night’s episode in the limelight, after missing the last two meetings, was just his latest example of directly and at length criticizing a member of the public in attendance or making general comments that disparage groups of people he does not see eye-to-eye with.

Along the way, I have continued to monitor and seek additional information on what are certainly ethical lapses, and as I encounter interested and concerned residents, a number have asked by me if I have filed a formal complaint with California’s Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) and, if not, which is the case, why?

My answer is that I want our city to handle its own problems, and I do not want to wait a year and a half or more for an FPPC decision.

Now, in this coming election season, is a highly relevant opportunity to continue to press the case locally. Two council members running for re-election were in attendance last night and directly experienced what occurred in this particular instance.

Residents need to know the position of each candidate running for city council, as to whether Michael Alcehck should continue on the commission for another 3+ years. I will ask it of the them, and I hope you will too.

The council appoints and the council can remove.


7 people like this
Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 26, 2018 at 2:36 pm

Novelera is a registered user.

I didn't attend last night. I'm dying of curiosity. Which resident did Michael Alcheck berate until they had to stop him? And what was the resident speaking about?


48 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 26, 2018 at 2:55 pm

Annette is a registered user.

Had I not witnessed Alcheck's performance at last night's meeting and someone simply described it to me I would think that person was describing a bad skit. His remarks were unprovoked, unnecessary, and unprofessional.

We are quick to criticise our President for inappropriate attack comments/tweets; how is what Alcheck did different?


42 people like this
Posted by Abitarian
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 26, 2018 at 3:15 pm

For those who missed the July 25 PTC meeting, you can watch the video online, see Web Link

Fred Balin is 100% correct, Michael Alcheck's disgraceful behavior should disqualify him from continuing on the PTC.

Thanks to the citizens who spoke at the meeting and the commissioners who voted against removing the cap.


14 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 26, 2018 at 3:22 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

"non problems" don't need solving! Back in CC's lap. Yes, that will be an interesting meeting!


39 people like this
Posted by rita vrhel
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 26, 2018 at 3:55 pm

Thank you everyone who attended and spoke out for maintaining the downtown non -residential development cap. The timing of this item as well as the origin are suspect. It was not discussed with the PTC chair or vice-chair as is standard procedure. I doubt Mr. Lait and Ms. Lee submitted this Action Item on their own. Most likely they were directed to do so by someone else.

I would encourage a public records request to help identify the originator and possibly the real purpose of this Action Item. The excuse that public comment was not expected is not a valid reason to bypass standard procedures. They were established to avoid these types of situations. Only the most naive person would believe this Action Item would not be controversial.

I also feel the PTC Commissioners as well as City Staff present were placed in a situation not totally of their own making. The Public is rapidly losing respect and trust in our City Staff as reflected in the yearly Palo Alto Citizen poll results. This meeting was a perfect example of why that respect is rapidly erroding.

I hope Mr. Balin will refer the issue of Mr. Alcheck's continued behavior to the Grand Jury since City Attorney Ms. Stump declines to adequately address this issue. The Grand jury was established for this type of situation.

Remember the November election will be doubly important. IT is your opportunity to hold City Council members accountable for their past votes as well as deciding how much office growth you want in Palo Alto. Clear choices. And please do not be fooled buy the Democratic Party endorsements as I have been. Be an informed voter.Thank you again.


12 people like this
Posted by When they go low...
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 26, 2018 at 3:58 pm

we should go high...

This comments section is exactly why our problems aren't getting solved. Instead of speaking the truth, many frequent posters just seem to be misinforming and manipulating. I just watched the supposedly inappropriate behavior and was once again left with the impression that too many residents are simply seeing what they want to see as opposed to seeing the reality.

Alcheck is clearly defending the integrity of the board on which he sits. There can be nothing more relevant in this moment in our political history.

I think the accusations lobbed against the PTC during many of the speaker comments are actually more Trumpian than anything else. If you seek to sow discord, then sure, wage war, and call out your opposition as a deceitful enemy. But surely that's not what we've become in Palo Alto, is it? It's like you're all shouting "lock him up, lock him up."

What I see in this video clip is a volunteer trying to clear the air. And just because some people say otherwise over and over, doesn't make it true. If our institutions are under attack, than those that defend them should be honored not castigated.

Watch the video. Don't go low. Stop dividing this town.

#endthetrumpshow


37 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 26, 2018 at 5:13 pm

Annette is a registered user.

@When they go low - what he said about the PTC members and his explanation about how the issue came to be on the agenda is not what is objectionable. It was the way he called out the person w/whom he has an issue and spoke directly to her and wouldn't stop even when asked to do so. How is it that it is okay to tell her that he wished she had placed a call to him (which would have been private, obviously) and spoken directly to him rather than write whatever it is she wrote yet he can address her publicly, in front of a room full of people, knowing that he alone had the floor and she was stuck on the receiving end? To my way of thinking he owes her an apology.


42 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 26, 2018 at 5:25 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

If you go to 1:45 of the video for ten minutes or so you'll see he also objected vehemently that her post resulted in the PTC getting "hundreds and hundreds of emails" on the issues in just a few days.

Instead of berating her, he could have complimented her for giving the PTC the chance to hear the different points raised by concerned community members.

The fact that the city's working under so many "wildly conflicting priorities" is a source of concern.


9 people like this
Posted by @Annette
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 26, 2018 at 5:38 pm

The resident in question used a tweet or social media post to accuse the pro growth commissioners of pulling a fast one over the citizens of Palo Alto. Her accusations played on peoples fear and was without any meriIt. People should make an effort to substantiate their accusations before posting them. That’s what a community interested in a civil resilt would demand. He didn’t say that she shouldn’t have posted, he simply said he wished he could have had a conversation with her first. Maybe if she had reached out she wouldn’t have made the [portion removed] baseless accusation undermining the integrity of the commission. Continuing to suggest that Alcheck’s effort to stand up to those who misinform and play on our fears is unprofessional is not going to make Palo Alto great agaIn.

I too believe he did nothing wrong.


41 people like this
Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 26, 2018 at 5:56 pm

Novelera is a registered user.

Wow, just wow! Thank you, Arbitarian, for the web link to the PTC meeting last night. I simply cannot believe that a person with absolutely no good sense; i.e., Michael Alcheck, was permitted to drone on in such a way about a citizen of this town who disagreed with him. This is a town where I've lived for 36 years and whose public officials I used to respect.

What can we do to get Michael Alcheck off the Planning Commission?


45 people like this
Posted by Abitarian
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 26, 2018 at 6:32 pm

To clarify some of the previous comments...

On July 22, one of our fellow citizens sent a message alerting Palo Altans to
the unexpected PTC agenda item concerning the downtown non-residential cap.

I received the message directly from the author and was grateful for the information, which had not been reported in the press prior to the PTC meeting. Living in the heart of downtown, the issue is of great concern to me.

The author encouraged people to attend the meeting or email the PTC. This type of citizen activism is known as grassroots democracy-in-action. It is not only a first amendment right, it is a proud American tradition and something to be encouraged.

This message did *not* mention Mr. Alcheck or any other PTC commissioners by name.

Mr. Alcheck's comments were inappropriate for many reasons, but they were also incoherent. It seems to me that the main point of the citizen's message was to inform the public. Mr. Alcheck's suggestion that the author should have contacted him privately would have defeated the purpose.

In any event, there are no circumstances where it is acceptable for a public official to chastise a citizen from the dais or to stifle free speech. As Harry Truman liked to say, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.


3 people like this
Posted by Democracy?
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 26, 2018 at 6:51 pm

So, am I reading this right? Only 4 out of 7 commissioners voted on this? How is this representative? And why did Alcheck abstain? This is silly and indicative of the disfunction on this irrelevant commission. At a minimum this item should have been continued until it was heard by the entire commission. Riggs and Gardias usually offer pragmatism and might have steered the dialogue to a more productive outcome. Frustrating.


6 people like this
Posted by @Annette
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 26, 2018 at 7:09 pm

To clarify this even further, since I believe your prior clarification is missing critically important details.

The resident's mistake wasn't her call to action. Had she simply asked the community to voice their support for the cap and to share their feelings about the cap with the Commission, then Alcheck likely wouldn't have even touched upon it.

Instead, she stated in plain English an accusation that the item was placed on the agenda by the Planning Commission "to pre-empt the election and the expression of the citizen's voice." It was a direct accusation against the Planning Commission. That same sentiment was repeated over and over by many of the speakers. Again suggesting "something fishy" and "undemocratic." These are unqualified and unjustified attacks on the integrity of the Commission. Plain and simple.

His statement was that he wished she had reached out to him first before making the untrue and unfortunate allegations which accompanied her otherwise proper call to action.

I would happily withdraw my strong support for Alcheck's effort to stand up for the integrity of the body upon which he serves IF ANYONE CAN DEMONSTRATE THAT THE PLANNING COMMISSION OPERATED WITH INTENT TO PRE-EMPT THE ELECTION AND THE EXPRESSION OF THE CITIZEN'S VOICE. That would be an awful thing if it was true. And I'm glad to see Commissioners defending against such Trumpian style attacks.

Our democracy is fragile. We must protect it from those who wish to divide us and instill in us a fear of each other. To do otherwise is to allow us all to suffer the consequences of incivility. We must strive for a more honest discussion where we don't simply put out the facts that support our narrow view.

The familiar saying, "you are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts" comes to mind as I write this.

To not acknowledge the sheer danger posed when members as influential as this resident who posted this accusation and was able to enlist hundreds to write in, is to turn a blind eye to the very style of politics that has resulted in our national leadership crisis.

We deserve better. And if someone with so much influence, who can motivate so many to act, does so with an accusation that is [portion removed] unfair, then, by all means, call her out and propose an alternative process. But don't shoot the messenger!


33 people like this
Posted by Fred Balin
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 26, 2018 at 7:56 pm

Fred Balin is a registered user.

The commissioner was ready to roll.

His blithe, disingenuous offer to Bill Ross to fill out his speaker card, after it did not find its way to the dais as the public hearing was about to close, was the early giveaway.

I would have preferred that his target for the evening had not used the “c” word in her communication, but with the commissioner's predilection and track record, together with the tension surrounding the item at hand, an excuse to let loose was sure to materialize one way or another.


8 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 26, 2018 at 7:57 pm

Annette is a registered user.

Point of clarification: the person posting anonymously as "@Annette" is not moi. I post as Annette, that is in fact my first name, and I do live in College Terrace. I have lived in Palo Alto for 37 years plus a couple more for college. I am not writing this b/c I fully disagree with what @Annette has written; I simply wish to point out that that person is not me. I do thank that person for noting that he or she is from a different neighborhood as that is helpful.


41 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 26, 2018 at 8:03 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

I don't know her personally and I don't know what she sent to her neighbors but here's one of the neighbor's posts from NextDoor:

"Here is the information that XX kindly sent out to neighbors:

Commission meeting starts at 6pm, this Item 3 is early on the agenda Web Link

Public comment is Permitted.
The Staff Report is 'only' 4 1/2 pages.
Web Link

Emails may be sent directly to the PTC: planning.commission@cityofpaloalto.org"

----------------Hardly revolutionary. The wthe only "editorial" comment is the word "thin" highlighting the failure of the CC and city staff to do their jobs conscientiously in its rush to push through their pro-development agenda.

Why aren't you equally concerned that the City Council referred such a flimsy conflicting document to the PTC for approval?

Given the huge changes in PA in the last few years and all the failed official "outreach" efforts that never reach us about major developments and the long-standing failure of many city officials, council members and commissioners to respond to our calls and letters, can you really be so shocked that there's so little trust?

Re "someone with so much influence" -- She's not the only "someone" forced to take action. Remember the "someone" responsible for the Ross Road petition, the "someone" responsible for mobilizing the Middlefield Rd residents by going door-to-door with his handouts, etc. etc. etc.

Most of us wouldn't recognize these influential "someone(s)" in person!

We've been forced to rely on each other, to start petitions and ballot initiatives only to see the city spend $$$$$ on push polls and consultants to tell us we're not experiencing what we clearly ARE experiencing.

The city's satisfaction ratings are falling 20% each year. Trust and confidence are at all-time lows. THOSE are major concerns.




7 people like this
Posted by stephen levy
a resident of University South
on Jul 26, 2018 at 9:05 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

Most of this discussion overlooks what started Alcheck's response.

The direct quote from Elaine Meyer reported in the Post is
"the development cabal on the PTC is concerned the citizens initiative to constrain office growth will pass"

I believe Elaine slandered the commissioners she disagrees with without any evidence and in the intention to rile people up and that sure worked. Claiming she did not name a person is disingenuous as the phrase "development cabal" could only be meant for three commissioners.

If anyone was out of order it was the audience who violated the audience civility and the chair who let this go on.

[Portion removed.]


46 people like this
Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 26, 2018 at 9:51 pm

Novelera is a registered user.

Stephen Levy, [portion removed]

You're working for business interests downtown and absolutely opposed to ANY cap on business growth downtown. These businesses like Palantir, of whom you're so fond, offer absolutely nothing to the citizens of Palo Alto. Can I buy a dress at Palantir? Does Palantir sell bread? Would Palantir clean my teeth? Well, we need to not only slow but STOP the growth of businesses downtown that offer citizens nothing except more jobs:housing imbalance, awful traffic, and degradation of our way of life.


44 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 26, 2018 at 9:59 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Actually she also named the pro-development majority on the City Council as per her quote on Next Door. No need to "name call" to identify the pro-development 5 majority.

"It would appear that the development cabal on the PTC and Council
is concerned that the citizens' initiative to restrain office growth will pass. So the Planning Commission has scheduled Wed. July 25 a discussion of an Ordinance to raise the Downtown Cap to preempt the election and the expression of the citizens' voice."

In response to my email asking whether that was a legitimate concern, a CC member responded, "Good question." Given the PTC's decision re the"wildly conflicting" CC priorities and the "thin" staff report, is't it great Elaine was paying attention?

If you're so upset by "name calling," I assume we'll never again hear insults leveled against "council watchdogs," "residentialists," Nimby's and "extremists" (direct quote by Mr. Fine) etc. and that you'll stop assuming everyone who opposes more office development is a PASZ member rather than just another concerned citizen. Fair's fair, right?

So, about those "wildly conflicting" priorities put forth by the CC and the "thin" staff report....


23 people like this
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 26, 2018 at 10:31 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

From an outside viewer: This behavior in Palo Alto looks like a soap opera. Robert's Rules of Order properly used would have made the Sergeant of Arms EJECT the arguing parties and the disgraceful behavior of all people in the room. I think Alcheck's behavior disqualifies him and he should be removed.

[Portion removed.]


5 people like this
Posted by @Annette
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 27, 2018 at 12:03 am

And see it just continues and continues. People are so prepared to attack each other online and there's no effort to acknowledge where we've made our own mistakes.

I never intended to use this forum to invite the suggestion that the resident who attacked the integrity of the commission deserves public rebuke. Rather, I have participated in this conversation simply to illustrate that what Alcheck did to defend the integrity of the commission, which is right there for all to see on tape, by explaining that commissioners have no oversight or influence on the setting of agendas, and (I'm paraphrasing) that he was made aware of the meeting's agenda at the same time as the general public, was a clear effort to clear the air of some specific influential online post which had provoked widespread anger and played on peoples fear.

I know of Stephen Levy, but we don't know each other. And the accusations leveled against him on this forum seem similarly problematic. Suggesting he's in it for himself and for personal benefit. Does that mean he's never done anything wrong or misspoken, hardly? But it seems so foolish to attack him in this aggressive manner as well.

Let's consider another way. Some of you seem so keen on taking the opposition down that nothing else matters. To those of us who are watching on the sidelines, it's so clear to see that for many of you, it doesn't matter if the "allegation" doesn't hold water, all that matters is if you can make it stick in the court of public opinion. That's divisive. It's not going to lead to a positive result for our community.

From my vantage point, those who have taken the severe position that Alcheck's comments amount to an impeachable offense, have tipped their hand. Like everyone else, I am now able to watch this footage and so will the ultimate decision makers. And when they do, away from the tension of Wednesday evening, away from the anger and fear that many came to the meeting with, they will see that Alcheck was clearly trying to undo the harm caused by the suggestion that somehow the Commission was working the agenda in an effort to pre-empt the citizen's opportunity to participate in initiative process.

I suspect that my contribution on this forum is likely not going to result in any meaningful improvement of our civil discourse, but that realization hasn't affected my motivation. I will continue to stand for what I believe in and I will continue to promote a more civil discourse, not with the goal of changing you, but to keep you from changing me.


34 people like this
Posted by I was there
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2018 at 7:54 am

I was there is a registered user.

@Annette,

It was my first time at a PTC meeting and I went because I've seen these situations before when the dais looks to see who supports something or not and it matters who and how many show up. In the dead of Summer it's possible that nobody would have been able to make it. I was relatively new to the issue, and thought it a good way to learn for myself.

What stood out to me was what I call "real stuff", neighbor to neighbor - we all may not know each other but when one is in need and we can do something to speak up or stand up for each other, someone is there.

One of the comments that stood out to me was when a woman brought up a Casa Olga and how 100 people were displaced at the time, she shared how stressful being evicted is, that her friend's friend died 3 months after she was evicted which of course could have been for other reasons but let's all just THINK for one moment what it would feel to get evicted right now and to have your entire building evicted? Another comment was someone who worked years ago to save housing downtown but lost but they were able to save housing on Webster and another address I can't recall (Weekly please do a story on that).

The commissioner you are defending chose to single out a speaker because he wanted to defend the commission but what he may not get is that given the situation and what was being discussed it was really (in my view) rude to the people who were there for the Agenda item and it showed his priorities. The commissioner went on and on and on (and on) and nobody stopped him. So much so the audience STOOD UP. I've never seen that happen before.

He started on the speaker as if he was her best friend. Wish you had reached out to me Elaine, my number is on the PTC page, I make myself available, and it all went downhill from there.

WHY would anyone have to reach out to anyone before they post anything anywhere?

THANK YOU ELAINE because I would not have known to show up.

I learned a lot.


22 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 27, 2018 at 8:32 am

Annette is a registered user.

We are letting the dynamics of a meeting detract from the real issue: growth policies. I doubt there's anyone who disagrees that there's a serious jobs:housing imbalance. Our shortage of housing inventory and the cost of existing housing is creating changes in the demographics of this city. The Hotel President sale sheds a bright light on the human cost of this situation.

We all know there are myriad costs: loss of housing for those in community-serving jobs, a creeping unaffordability that threatens to push even more current residents out, traffic, congestion, inadequate public transportation, the impact of the university's massive growth agenda, etc. It's pretty clear that we are also seeing a breakdown in civility. Crowding does that. So does economic displacement. And homelessness. And traffic.

So, why not stem the tide of growth when, where, and as we can?

Stemming is not a full stop. Capping office growth downtown opens the opportunity to proceed more moderately so we can regroup and plan in a more effective, sustainable way. If the current office/r&d growth rate continues unchecked, our existing problems will only worsen. I think our long term viability is more threatened by our current aggressive growth policies that omit effective housing policies than it is by a cap on office/r&d growth. Stanford isn't going to move away and I think that alone assures that creativity and our entrepreneurial mindset isn't either.

I think the PTC decision is good and I hope our CC will go forward in a way that lays a solid foundation for improving our housing problem rather than exacerbating it.


16 people like this
Posted by I was there
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 27, 2018 at 9:11 am

I was there is a registered user.


Annette, (the real one)

Awhile back the current majority council rejected proposals to help renters as they are apparently into "new" buildings or more square footage for the developers.

As policies are looked at (I hope) we need a much higher cost attributed to losing existing housing and displacing people into the current housing situation. It's not like evicted residents can go to Craiglists and find an option. Four months is nothing, it's kicking them out on the street.

The reason the "civility" issues have come up I would say is not because it's crowded but because of the coincidences (?) like the mystery about how the PTC very last minute got an Agenda item to eliminate the cap. All the unanswered questions about almost every aspect of this situation or how about the fact that it took a resident to understand the City's zoning code. These are governance issues.

I dislike the "civility" word because it makes everyone that disagrees look like a problem. We need to have debate and open challenges and people need to be less sensitive, especially those with the privilege of sitting on the dais.




5 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 27, 2018 at 9:20 am

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

Well, well, well! "A nice dilemma we have here"...from G&S's 'Trial By Jury'. Thanks Arbitarian for the web link. It revealed a lot to me. It was good to be able to put faces on commissioners we read about all the time.

Just a few comments:

It was a long meeting but it was worth watching. The residents who spoke made their points very well, some of them eloquently, and their tone was relatively calm. The messages of the Hotel President residents were powerful and moving.

Other than calling out Elaine by name, which was inappropriate, Alcheck spoke very well in defending the hard work the commissioners do as volunteers. I saw nothing wrong with many points, sometimes too lengthy, that he made.

There was confusion at times and it appeared that a course in 'Robert's Rules of Order' would be very helpful (in order) for the commissioners.

A lot of back and forth about the 'consent calender'. I might have dozed off so I'm not absolutely sure of the outcome.

A lot of discussion about notification of the meetings in the Weekly. I might have dozed off again and so I don't know what was resolved.

Thanks to all you residents who are not so prone to doze off and are willing to attend those meetings. Actually, if I was wide awake I still might not have understood what was resolved. Too much churning of words and language for many of us to understand clearly.

And to both Annettes Thank you! The comments above by Community Center Annette are a good attempt at trying to calm people down to the point where there can be disagreement but a willingness to have thoughtful and respectful discussion without attacking one another.






24 people like this
Posted by The Agenda
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 27, 2018 at 9:22 am

Kudos to the Commissioners for not allowing themselves to be pushed into a zoning change on a very few days notice.

So who put it on the Agenda? The Commissioners *all* said they had not known it was coming, the elimination of the Downtown Cap. That is the real question.

Who put it on the Agenda?


20 people like this
Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 27, 2018 at 9:56 am

Novelera is a registered user.

@The Agenda

Yep, that's likely where the body is buried...who put it on the agenda?


21 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 27, 2018 at 11:22 am

mauricio is a registered user.

Actually there is at least one commissioner who replied to the question 'Was the push to scrap the downtown cap an attempt to pre-empt the citizens initiative' with" "That's a good question'. I know from a good source that a the 'residentialist' minority in the TPC feel bullied by the pro growth cabal.

[Portion removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by stephen levy
a resident of University South
on Jul 27, 2018 at 12:21 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


28 people like this
Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 27, 2018 at 1:00 pm

Novelera is a registered user.

What Stephen Levy doesn't include in his posts is being on the Board of Directors of Palo Alto Forward, along with two other Board members of PAF that work for Palantir.


7 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 27, 2018 at 1:10 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by stephen levy
a resident of University South
on Jul 27, 2018 at 1:29 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

Gosh Novelera,

I imagine most readers know I am on the board of Palo Alto Forward. So what does htat have to do with Elaine Meyer's post? I also chair the Palo Alto League of Women Voters housing and transportation committee and several non profit boards. again, so what?

[Portion removed.]

FYI, PAF has one board member who works for Palantir, the LWVPA has none, and as far as I knnow SV@Home who has supported the same hosuing policies as PAF and the League, have none.

[Portion removed.] There is no financial or policy connection between any of these organizations and Palantir.

[Portion removed.]


25 people like this
Posted by @StevenLevy
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 27, 2018 at 1:40 pm

On this thread, you complain about "smears" against candidates and commissioners. (Ones with whom you are closely alligned). On the rent control thread you question the sincerity of Council members who introduced rent control months ago, ("This deal was here at the start but some council members and posters wanted a campaign issue not renter protection") while extolling Wohlbach who originally voted against it. I won't question Wohlbach's sincerity here, but, I would like you to address yours. Why is it ok for you to ask these questions about candidates you disagree with and accuse them of Trump tactics, but, when others ask questions about PAF candidates and activists it's a "smear". Don't you think you are smearing people?


Like this comment
Posted by stephen levy
a resident of University South
on Jul 27, 2018 at 2:09 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

@@StevenLevy

My comments about Trump like behavior were referring to posters not council members.

I disagree with the behavior and positions of some council members but I do not accuse them of deflection and avoidance in the Trump style. I personally support some candidates and council members that i assume you do not but there are no PAF candidates just as there are no League of Women Voters candidates though individual members of all organizations do endorse as individuals.

Wolbach and DuBois now have a colleagues memo on renter protection but not rent control and I hope we move forward on that proposal.


Like this comment
Posted by stephen levy
a resident of University South
on Jul 27, 2018 at 2:41 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

[Portion removed.]

I work for large public agencies and non profits.

Currently my clients are USGS, three regional planning agencies--Sacramento, Santa Barbara and Southern California, water and air quality organizations in California and SPUR.

If [portion removed] posters want to claim these are development interests (their own strange interpretation) and that i work for business interests downtown [portion removed] I should be able to tell readers who I do work for.

[Portion removed.]


23 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 27, 2018 at 2:53 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

" [Portion removed.] There is no financial or policy connection between any of these organizations and Palantir."

Much has been written about Palantir CEO Peter Thiel's position on the Bay Area, housing, rents etc. and I urge everyone to search on it.

Palantir employees such as Kate Downing and Bob McGrew sat or still sit on Palo Alto commissions as well as those in Menlo Park where they've fought for higher density, including forming organizations to push for higher density after suffering defeats at the polls. Mr. McGrew, for example heads both the PA MTA and the Menlo Park equivalant of PAF called Imagine Menlo.


20 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 27, 2018 at 3:50 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

"FYI, PAF has one board member who works for Palantir, the LWVPA has none, and as far as I knnow SV@Home who has supported the same hosuing policies as PAF and the League, have none.

[Portion removed.] There is no financial or policy connection between any of these organizations and Palantir."

Not true.

Steve Levy also conveniently does not mention his connections to ABAG, the corrupt, massively pro development agency.


22 people like this
Posted by The Agenda
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 27, 2018 at 4:02 pm

Levy misquotes the original tweet. She also referred to the Council. Online Name above quoted it accurately.

Mr Levy seems to have some personal vendetta against her, he keeps repeating her name. She is a long time neighborhood and open government advocate as far as I can tell, and most important, she is not on the take. She does not earn a living through development.

Which Mr Alcheck does, he is a real estate attorney. He has recently been in the news concerning a carport he turned into a garage and neighbors objected.

More to the point, who put the zoning change on the PTC Agenda? The Commissioners including Alcheck said they were surprised by it.


12 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 27, 2018 at 4:04 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


19 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 27, 2018 at 4:23 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Read the related article Web Link and ask yourself how a city-funded survey can NOT consider factors like traffic!

"The new study stops well short of that and explicitly states that it is not considering non-economic factors that may be important to the community, including traffic, community characteristics, the environment and other quality-of-life factors -- the very factors that proponents of the initiative cite in advocating for restrictions on office growth."

Talk about misplaced priorities that the study considers the impact on Stanford Research Park but not on traffic, congestion and other quality-of-life" factors.

The study does consider the initiative's impact on Stanford Research Park, though it notes that current zoning at the research park allows addition of up to 850,000 square feet of development. The likelihood of new development hitting the cap in the near term "is remote, absent a major shift in the development pattern at Stanford Research Park," the study states.

Anyone know how much this "study" and the laughable push telephone poll cost us??


Like this comment
Posted by stephen levy
a resident of University South
on Jul 27, 2018 at 8:41 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

@ The Agenda

What I said below is accurate from the Post. She may have said other things but this cabal slander was at the PTC members who she accused with no evidence whatsoever. You and the moderator can go read the Post for yourselves.

From my original post--

Most of this discussion overlooks what started Alcheck's response.

The direct quote from Elaine Meyer reported in the Post is
"the development cabal on the PTC is concerned the citizens initiative to constrain office growth will pass"

[Portion removed.]


10 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 27, 2018 at 9:42 pm

@Stephen
Thanks for the actual quote from the Post.
Aside from the exaggerated use of “cabal”, do you agree with the real thrust of her claim which is that the development ‘clique’ or ‘faction’ on the PTC is concerned that the citizen’s initiative of office growth will pass?


18 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 27, 2018 at 10:12 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

[Portion removed.]

As for the Post's quote, we all know misquotes happen. Here's the link to her ACTUAL NextDoor post Web Link which I'll quote again for those who can't access it:

July 25 Planning Comm. wants to INCREASE office growth
It would appear that the development cabal on the PTC and Council
is concerned that the citizens' initiative to restrain office growth will pass. So the Planning Commission has scheduled Wed. July 25 a discussion of an Ordinance to raise the Downtown Cap to preempt the election and the expression of the citizens' voice.

--- One more time:

1) How would you describe the City Council's role in pushing for a vote on something the PTC called "wildly contradictory" and explain how that doesn't seem a bit what? Irresponsible? Odd? Suspicious?

2) Please also comment on how/why the pro-development City Council majority authorized and funded a "study" of the proposed ballot initiative that explicitly ignores major concerns like traffic, congestion and parking that got 3,000+ signatures and got non-PASZ people like me out collecting those signatures? People care about those issues more than Stanford Research Park which was studied. How much did WE pay for that "study" when we're supposedly so broke we need higher taxes>

Misquotes happen. Please focus on the real issues.


19 people like this
Posted by Fred Balin
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 27, 2018 at 11:09 pm

Fred Balin is a registered user.

There a lot of caps going around in this town and with it a good dose of confusion, especially when an important agenda item is added late in the game, and concerned folks are scrambling to understand and deal with it.

A. There is the longstanding Downtown Development Cap that was suddenly added to Wednesday’s P&TC agenda, undoubtedly in the tragic wake of the Hotel President pre-sale consultations fiasco.

B. There is the Annual Office Limit, a 50,00 square foot per year (with rollover) Office/R&D cap which encompasses three areas: Downtown (which includes the Hotel President), the Cal Ave Area, and South El Camino Real.

C. There is the citywide annual office/R&D cap in the 2030 Comprehensive Plan of 1.7 million square feet through 2030, and finally, D, the resident's Initiative to reduce that cap to 850,000 square feet.

There is no connection I see (and which the city attorney affirmed on Wednesday) between the Initiative and the Downtown Development Cap, but for me and other folks who followed this closely, it was not clear for some time.

So, in my view, Elaine’s one-sentence wording in an email I received apprising folks of the agenda item was not accurate. She did however, follow-up with a detailed discussion of the matter written by Jeff Levinsky that was highly informative as well as action oriented.

On a related note, Online Name above references a consultant’s study related to the Initiative, which will come before the council on Monday, when they will vote on whether to put the Initiative on the ballot or approve it outright then and there. A third option, to write a competing measure, appears to have been dropped, although nothing around here seems to be certain these days. The study was mandated by the council majority to study only fiscal and economic interest, so Online Name is correct, it is very limited in scope.

Steve Levy, as a local and regional expert, and two initiative leaders, Greg Schmid and Joe Hirsch, were interviewed as part of the consultant’s process ($17K, as you ask, Online), as well as folks from the business community, and as I expect there to be a significant contingent of eloquent, sincere folks once at orals communications in support of the residents of Hotel President on Monday, and with the initiative to follow, think about coming to the meeting. Starts at 5 pm, should be worth your while, not to mention, food much more discussion here.


23 people like this
Posted by Abitarian
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 28, 2018 at 8:25 am

Stephen Levy has hijacked this discussion to repeatedly accuse Elaine Meyer of using Trump-like tactics and slandering the PTC.

1. My understanding is that when it comes to free speech vs. defamation, the law gives a lot of leeway to citizen comments about public officials. Dealing with criticism is part of the role of being a public official, even when the remarks lack solid foundation or are inelegantly phrased. The most effective leaders stay focused on their mission, and don't make the distractions the message, especially in the case of a trivial pronouncement where no names were even mentioned.

2. Looking above at Mr. Levy's writings, you will see many cases where portions have been removed or entire posts deleted by the moderator. Unfortunately, Mr. Levy's modus operandi is to launch personal attacks at those who disagree with him. Our community would be better served if Mr. Levy would work on improving the tone of his own correspondence rather than condemning the words of others.

3. Mr. Levy has changed the topic of this discussion from keeping the downtown office cap -- which presumably he does not support -- to denouncing a comment made by a citizen. If his intention was to stifle conversation about the cap by diverting the dialog to another topic, well, that would be ironic since it's a tactic famously favored by Donald Trump.

Mr. Levy is public figure who shapes development policy by serving on local boards and consulting with government and related organizations. As such, he is subject to unsolicited feedback, and hopefully he will accept mine gracefully.

Finally, from an ethical perspective, my feeling is that Mr. Levy should have disclosed to us that he participated in a study commissioned by the city to evaluate the impacts of the very cap in question. Thanks to Fred Balin for alerting us to this fact.


Like this comment
Posted by stephen levy
a resident of University South
on Jul 29, 2018 at 4:47 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

@resident

No, there is no evidence that the minority PTC members intervened or could intervene in the agenda so I think her claim is pure speculation.

I am not clear why the item came to the PTC. The staff report says it was a consistency, clean up item.

In any event the only actions that count are at the council. No matter what the PTC did or did not do, it would come to council. In addition no matter what the accused PTC members think, it is clear from this and past votes that they cannot alone make anything happen in regard to PTC action.

@Arbitarian, all I did with regard to Elaine Meyer was repeat her quote. My comment about Trump like behavior was directed at individual posters and not her or any elected or appointed officials.


2 people like this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 29, 2018 at 4:55 pm

scrap the cap.
Develop and pave.


12 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 30, 2018 at 11:16 am

@Stephen
Thanks for your responses, but for some reason you responded to me with answers to your own questions rather than the one I asked. Assuming that your integrity means you would not have done so deliberately, I’ll repeat my question. Aside from her rhetorical use of the term “cabal”, do you agree with her primary claim that the pro growth faction of the Planning Commission is concerned that the citizens initiative to restrict the rate of office growth will pass?


Like this comment
Posted by stephen levy
a resident of University South
on Jul 30, 2018 at 3:55 pm

stephen levy is a registered user.

@resident

I thought that sentence below answered your question--answer is no as stated beloe

"No, there is no evidence that the minority PTC members intervened or could intervene in the agenda so I think her claim is pure speculation."

Moreover, you do remember that no PTC member voted in favor of the staff proposal. And in my opinion you do not get to just toss aside the word cabal as it goes to the intent of the poster.

Do you have any evidence from the meeting to substantiate her accusatory, non evidence backed public speculation?

Usually one is supposed to have evidence before tossing around the claim she made, don't you think?


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

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Disposing of Disposables
By Sherry Listgarten | 23 comments | 2,432 views

Facing high kitchen turnover, Los Altos' The Post revamps majority of its menu
By Elena Kadvany | 3 comments | 2,262 views

Couples Counseling, Al Pacino Style
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,839 views

Anonymous Sources: Facebook and YouTube suppressing important questions and discussion
By Douglas Moran | 5 comments | 655 views

NICU Love
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 408 views