News


Palo Alto places hotel-tax hike on November ballot

Voters will be asked to raise tax rate from 14 percent to 15.5 percent

Palo Alto voters will have a chance in November to raise the city's hotel-tax rate to help fund the city's wish list of infrastructure projects, which include the new police headquarters, various bike projects and potential improvements to the city's animal shelter and the Junior Museum and Zoo.

The City Council voted 6-3 on Monday night, July 30, with Karen Holman, Lydia Kou and Greg Tanaka dissenting, to put a measure on the ballot that would raise the transient-occupancy tax (commonly known as "hotel tax") rate from 14 percent to 15.5 percent. If approved, the revenues would bring in about $2.55 million in annual revenues, according to a staff analysis.

The proposal is somewhat milder than the one the council had considered prior to its June 18 meeting, when it dropped a prior proposal to raise the tax rate to 16 percent, which would have made the local rate the highest in the state. Now, even if the measure passes, the hotel-tax rate would be below that of Healdsburg, which has a 16 percent rate, Councilman Greg Scharff said at the Monday meeting. Mayor Liz Kniss, who in June led the charge for scaling down the proposed increase from the 16 percent to 15.5 percent (Scharff was lobbying for 16 percent), said other cities in California are also looking at going to 16 percent.

"It's kind of a painless thing for a city to do," Kniss said, "Which probably isn't the best reason for the city to do it."

The Monday discussion was relatively brief, with only Tanaka coming out strongly against the proposed hotel-tax hike. He criticized the ballot language for not explicitly listing how much each infrastructure project would receive from the new hotel-tax revenues. The language states that the funding would be used "for vital City services such as ensuring modern, stable 911 emergency communications, earthquake-safe fire stations and emergency command center; improving pedestrian and bicyclist safety; ensuring safe routes to schools; maintaining City streets and sidewalks; and other city services."

Tanaka argued that by not specifically calling out the projects such as the public-safety building, the city is doing "a little bait and switch."

"I wonder if we're doing some fearmongering here about, 'If you're not doing this, our 911 isn't going to work here anymore.' It's not true," Tanaka said.

City Manager James Keene noted that the subject of emergency communications polled well in recent surveys on the proposed tax increase. He also argued that the statement is in fact accurate. The Police Department's current headquarters at City Hall has long been deemed seismically unsafe, a big reason for the city's two-decadelong quest to build a new headquarters.

"If we don't move our EOC (Emergency Operations Center) in an essential-services-standard building and we have a major quake, we would lose our communication and our 911 system," Keene said.

Holman and Kou had also expressed some reservations in the past about the proposed hotel-tax hike. At the June 18 meeting, Holman said that she believes trying to raise money by raising a tax is "clearly not taking responsibility that we can do a better job in how we spend money."

Kou had argued in the past that the city should take fresh look at its infrastructure plan and consider removing or scaling back some of the projects.

This will be the second time in four years that Palo Alto voters are being asked to raise the hotel tax to help fund infrastructure. In 2014, voters overwhelmingly passed a measure raising the tax rate from 12 percent to 14 percent.

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Comments

16 people like this
Posted by 5th Generation
a resident of Mayfield
on Aug 5, 2018 at 10:09 am

Haha... improvements to the Junior Museum and Zoo? Say what now?

The new Junior Museum and Zoo is currently being built from scratch. Are they building it in a way that it is going to need improvement upon completion?


43 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 5, 2018 at 10:28 am

Online Name is a registered user.

"Palo Alto voters will have a chance in November to raise the city's hotel-tax rate to help fund the city's wish list of infrastructure projects, which include the new police headquarters, various bike projects and potential improvements to the city's animal shelter and the Junior Museum and Zoo. "

1) The city doesn't need a cent more for its traffic diets and other "improvements" that impede through traffic unless they're going to use that money to rip out all the bollards, Botts dots and new bulb-outs that make driving even more dangerous.

2) Re the Junior Museum, drive by and look at how they've butchered the trees there. Shameful. When school starts, I dread the congestion from all the parent traffic displaced by the construction and the silly new lane reductions in front of the site we'll endure for the next several years.

""It's kind of a painless thing for a city to do," Kniss said, "Which probably isn't the best reason for the city to do it."

It's not painless for Stanford patients undergoing long-term care and their families, for those of us with visiting friends and families, for Stanford construction workers forced to live in RVs etc. etc.

Just say no.


35 people like this
Posted by Recent arrival
a resident of Professorville
on Aug 5, 2018 at 12:04 pm

Just to make it clear, this would be a general tax increase that can be spent in any way that the Council so chooses. When the staff and Council choose to use language that lists those items that poll most favorably, they are engaging in a less than honest manner. Words following "such as" that said "pay raises for city employees and funding retiree pensions and health care benefits" would also be true and more likely be accurate.

I'm sure staff and council are patting themselves on the back for their cleverness in how this vote is worded but this is the sort of action, done time after time, that undercuts the community's trust in city government. It's easy to treat an honest process as something to be discarded in the interests of getting a desired outcome for this week's matter at hand but there is a price that will be paid down the road.


30 people like this
Posted by Observer
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 5, 2018 at 1:55 pm

>The new Junior Museum and Zoo is currently being built from scratch. Are they building it in a way that it is going to need improvement upon completion?

Yes. That seems to be the City Manager's style.
After spending some 4 1/2 Million on re-doing the lobby and •unnecessary• recarpeting and reupholstering the council chambers, he now has figured out that the sound system needs improvement. He's asking for more Millions.

I think he is using his last few months to reward his friends with city $.


18 people like this
Posted by jlanders
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 5, 2018 at 2:29 pm

jlanders is a registered user.

Perhaps Mr Keene forgot that Palo Alto has the MEOC (Mobile Emergency Operations Center) (see: Web Link) which was successfully used this spring when the City's basement 911 center was shutdown for the installation of new radio consoles?

Palo Alto, Mountain View and Los Altos share access to each city's 911 calls and dispatch capability (see: Web Link). Ken Dueker and the Palo Alto OES team (as well as PAPD and PAFD) have worked hard to make sure Palo Alto doesn't have a single point of failure in the City's emergency response system.

I don't believe Mr Keene's statement is accurate. But, perhaps the Weekly could ask the folks responsible for Palo Alto's 911 system directly.


54 people like this
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 5, 2018 at 2:51 pm

Just as with housing, the expansion of corporations in this town has increased demand for hotels to the point that lots of new capacity was built and all the older more affordable hotels increased their prices to be more in line with the expensive ones. We have too small a home to have guests who now can no longer afford to visit at all, including family. So, I am not particularly sympathetic to the hotels here at the moment.

Having said that, I do not want our City Council to see hotels as some kind of cash cow, because El Camino from San Antonio to Stanford, especially between San Antonio and Page Mill, is practically a hotel monoculture already. Our City Council, especially the likes of Liz Kniss, don't give a flying rat's tail about civic life, ordinary residents, and balance, and I think giving them a tax hike will only incentivize the development of more hotels.

I am going to vote against this. I want the staff and employees to remember who really pays their salaries, and who WON'T be here to fund their pensions after they retire if they continue to be so obsequious to overdevelopment interests and to make this town too unpleasant or destroy the traditionally stability that carries us through down times in the tech sector. Seems to me that Liz "Let them take side streets" Kniss wants another reason to consider residents as beside the point.


6 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 5, 2018 at 3:48 pm

@Citizen, I count only 17 motels on El Camino between San Antonio and Page Mill.


37 people like this
Posted by Rex
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 5, 2018 at 9:15 pm

I will vote No. If you want to tax hotels, fine, tax ALL of the hotels in the city. That means license and tax every Airbnb just like a brick and mortar hotel. Airbnb rentals offer short term transient housing, which is, duh, exactly what a brick and mortar hotel offers, though with zero responsibility or accountability to their neighbors or the community at large. Besides, as others have pointed out, our city government can NOT manage our tax dollars, period. They need to demonstrate some fiscal competence before I vote for any sort of new tax in this town.


19 people like this
Posted by Random
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 5, 2018 at 10:01 pm

For everyone involved with the drafting of the language and its defense, congratulations in successfully putting on the ballot something designed to intentionally mislead. The buzz words here are “this polled best” means what’s the highest chance of success, truth be damned.

Nobody is talking about how this is proposed as a permanent increase. If they needed specific funds for specific uses, once the funds were used for those purposes they would sunset the hike. One council member’s argument that he just doesn’t see people making hotel stay decisions based on a few bucks is of course asinine. By that logic, we should gradually increase the tax rate annually by a percent until we get to 100% tax!

Let’s see just how intelligent the Palo Alto community is. If this pushes through, our citizens are stupider than I thought and deserve people like the city manager managing them.


25 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 5, 2018 at 10:27 pm

The city has been spending so much money to call residents with "public opinion questions" about these issues. It's like they are trying to find ways to raise taxes that won't result in residents anger or frustration. We were called so many times that we stopped responding.


27 people like this
Posted by Airbnb
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 5, 2018 at 10:32 pm

I agree with Rex. Short-term rentals (aka Airbnb) should be registered and taxed as they are in SF. Although rentals <30 days are currently illegal in Palo Alto, there is no enforcement, and landlords frequently advertise in their own names on Nextdoor with impunity. I would only vote for an increase in the hotel tax if it applied to all short-term rentals.


12 people like this
Posted by R. Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 5, 2018 at 10:35 pm

QUOTE: Our City Council, especially the likes of Liz Kniss, don't give a flying rat's tail about civic life, ordinary residents, and balance,

Why is that? Aren't our elected city representatives supposed to reflect the best interests of the community?


13 people like this
Posted by WOW
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 5, 2018 at 10:40 pm

@Online Name, I frequently see your posts on PA Online. I'm hoping that you are present at Town Hall meetings!

I'm on board to believe that this tax hike idea isn't as useful as it claims. Not really seeing how Palo Alto becomes a better/safer/more educated place with this "dire" issue. Or maybe I'm just too NIMBY to know the benefits, haha!


12 people like this
Posted by Airbnb host
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 5, 2018 at 10:56 pm

@ Rex and @ Airbnb

Please, get information before posting. Airbnbs in Palo Alto are subjected to the exact same tax as hotels are! I should know. I am an Airbnb host whose guests all pay the hotel tax! Ultimately, the guest pays this.


19 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 6, 2018 at 12:56 am

Online Name is a registered user.

"@Online Name,... I'm hoping that you are present at Town Hall meetings!"

Thanks. I've been present when audience size matters but often leave when I've reached my limit and worry I'll, er, verbalize inappropriately when, for example, we're told we don't have a traffic problem.

(As you know, the audience is often warned to remain silent and that our only appropriate reaction is to do the silent YMCA wave (outside camera range with no audio pickup.) Maybe some of the Council chmaber's multi-millions dollars budget could go toward registering audience feedback positive or negatively?

Like many others, I watch the meetings where I can opine freely in the privacy of my own home. The downside, unfortunately, is we're also told that the home audience doesn't count and there are no viewership records.

Maybe we need a designated bar to watch the meetings where we can all opine loudly together?


21 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 6, 2018 at 4:42 am

>> "Maybe we need a designated bar to watch the meetings where we can all opine loudly together?"

Count me in.


25 people like this
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 6, 2018 at 1:20 pm

@musical,

If we start at the new gigantic hotels going up on San Antonio and turn the corner onto El Camino to Arastradero, just in that approximately 1 mile trip, there are 13 hotels (although given the size of the new ones on San Antonio, we should maybe be talking how many city blocks). I am including that hotel that used to have the Indian restaurant in front but seems to have been taken over by a company for their own needs (?) because it is effectively still a hotel.

12-13 hotels per mile in a small town like Palo Alto is a monoculture. Compare that to the number of resident-service medical offices along that strip. Or the number of places our youth can find entertainment/activities. Or baby stores/book stores/dry cleaners. Even the number of drugstores, gas stations, grocery stores or even restaurants is dwarfed by hotel room space.

(I count 20 hotels between El Camino and Page Mill. This does not count proposed new hotel rooms such as over by Redwoods.)

We do not need to give this Council another reason to turn Palo Alto into an office park with hotels as the priority over practically anything else because they can get some easy money for more hotel rooms whenever they want. Plus, becoming to dependent on this kind of revenue stream will really, really hit us (and our city employees) hard the next time there is a downturn in the economy, as there always is. I am voting against this.


13 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 6, 2018 at 4:33 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

"Palo Alto voters will have a chance in November to raise the city's hotel-tax rate to help fund the city's wish list of infrastructure projects, which include the new police headquarters, various bike projects and potential improvements to the city's animal shelter and the Junior Museum and Zoo."

Re the Animal Shelter, the PA Dog Owners list moderated by Howard Hoffman just sent out an alert saying the City Council will be deciding whether or not to fund the Animal Shelter at their August 23rd meeting and urging people to write the City Council telling them to support and fully fund the Shelter.

I'm unclear how that relates to the November election and the proposed hotel tax funding things LIKE the Animal Shelter but an email can't hurt.

Anyone picked a bar/club yet where we can opine together? :->


7 people like this
Posted by Short Term Renter
a resident of University South
on Aug 6, 2018 at 7:19 pm

Who in their right mind would rent an Airbnb in Palo Alto? You’d have every old retired neighbor (plus all of the local trustifarians working from their “home offices”) peering through your windows and taking notes as you came and went. I’d rather stay in Mountain View or Redwood City.


20 people like this
Posted by R. Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 6, 2018 at 9:07 pm

QUOTE: 12-13 hotels per mile in a small town like Palo Alto is a monoculture.

And an eyesore to boot. It all boils down to big money and now the city wants a bigger piece of the action.

Since most of us are residents, we rarely venture into the local motel/hotel world in Palo Alto. Now unlike a resort area where the weekend and/or high-season tourist traffic generates the highest occupancy rates (as well as lodging revenue), in the mid-peninsula it is primarily during the midweek (year-round) when various motels & hotels are booked-up tight & prices at their most expensive. These midweek lodging demands are due to the large and growing number of various business-related meetings & high-tech 'in-house' conferences taking place throughout the Silicon Valley region on any given day from Monday through Thursday.

On the weekends, it is noticeably cheaper & far easier to get a motel/hotel room in Palo Alto as who in their right mind would come to PA for a vacation? It's not exactly Carmel or Aspen.

The growing number of these business/tech-related lodging demands are reflective of just how hectic everyday life has gotten around here and the proposed hotel tax is just another 'cash-cow' for our civic leaders to milk. Like most folks, they enjoy having the extra spending money...but like a child, they oftentimes spend it unwisely.







18 people like this
Posted by Gus L.
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 6, 2018 at 9:51 pm

Another Tax,..
Did you receive your Utility bill yet this Month?
Utility rates going up.. Water, Gas Electricity, Sanitation and Storm Drain fees UP UP UP..

Yeah, Right, to fix the Zoo..


10 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 6, 2018 at 11:11 pm

... and my DMV auto registration fee went up 35 percent this year. Yikes!


49 people like this
Posted by The Palo Alto Strip
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 7, 2018 at 9:38 am

A nice addition to all of these hotels and motels in Palo Alto would be the inclusion of a gaming casino for after-hours business travel recreation. It would also add to the tax revenue base.

In third grade at Addison School I remember the teacher telling us that native Indians once inhabited this area.

Are there any of their ancestors who could apply for an Indian casino in Palo Alto?


10 people like this
Posted by ChrisC
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 7, 2018 at 11:07 am

Please vote against this. Hotel tax always sounds like an easy way to bring money in. After all, who does it hurt? People who use hotels have plenty of money, right? Lots of people on limited budgets come to Palo Alto for things at Stanford, like interviews for jobs and education, like conferences. Airbnb guests pay this tax too, and not only stay with Airbnb because of lower cost but also hotels are fully booked in Palo Alto much of the time. When people stay in Palo Alto, they spend money in Palo Alto.


2 people like this
Posted by ChrisC
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 7, 2018 at 11:12 am

@Rex some Airbnb hosts feel the need to lower their rates so that the tax isn’t passed down to the guest and therefore the limited funds type of guest can still use Airbnb.


1 person likes this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Aug 7, 2018 at 12:32 pm

It is interesting that the people complaining about an increase in the hotel tax do not propose an alternative. [Portion removed.]

However, it is true that all of the City Council members were elected by the residents of Palo Alto. [Portion removed.]


1 person likes this
Posted by Bret Andersen
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 7, 2018 at 1:31 pm

This article omits the past record and explanation for why Council is proposing this tax increase. The June 6th Palo Alto online article (link below) explains why the planned parking garages are responsible for the bulk of Palo Alto's infrastructure plan budget shortfall and the concomitant need to raise taxes.

"Planned garages draw opposition" (Residents and some City Council members believe its time to reconsider plans for new parking structures in downtown and near California Avenue) Web Link

Carbon Free Palo Alto explained in it's letter to Council here how the enormous cost of building garages in Palo Alto can and should be best avoided along with the tax increases that are needed to pay for them.
Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Econ101
a resident of University South
on Aug 7, 2018 at 2:35 pm

these type of taxes are counter-productive.

If Palo Alto is in need of more revenue (which assumes that is justified), it should start taxing NIMBY's who are sitting on hundreds of millions, if not billions, in equity.

Specific to hotels, it should LOWER the tax to less than 10% and incentivize construction and rehab of hotels so we have taller structures, more underground parking and very high quality conditions.

Simply raising a hotel tax is foolish.


11 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 7, 2018 at 3:03 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

An alternative? The city can stop spending tens of millions of dollars on ridiculous road furniture to make us waste our time sitting in traffic. The city can stop paying its top managers the highest salaries in the state. The city could use the money to offset its huge unfunded pension liabilities.

And no, Virginia, not only is there no Santa Claus but you can't tax unrealized gains from real estate that hasn't even been sold. When it is sold, rest assured that the City will get its share for its "document transfer fee" which assures it will get five times as much from the sale of a $5M as for a $1M house because obviously it takes 5 times as much effort to make that transfer.

PA Utilities ran a $20,000,000 surplus from its over-charges siphoned from us into the General Fund to fund all of its spending and it still wants more from us??


8 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 7, 2018 at 6:07 pm

Annette is a registered user.

"It's kind of a painless thing for a city to do," Kniss said, "Which probably isn't the best reason for the city to do it."

The darndest things are coming out of our mayor's mouth these days.

But I agree that "painless for the city" is not a good reason to propose this tax. It is easy to vote for something that will be paid for by someone else but this tax request seems unfair to me since it wasn't all that long ago that we increased the TOT and there's vagueness about how the revenue will be spent if the tax passes.

I think a better approach is to start living within our means. To me that means not spending money on that which is not necessary. I often don't agree with how Councilman Tanaka votes but I surely do appreciate how he watches the budget.

As for the designated bar - great idea - too bad Talbot's closed! Maybe the Old Pro or The Patio could be convinced to turn on the public channel; one could make the case that local politics = sports.


5 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 7, 2018 at 6:24 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Annette, good ideas. Yes, too bad about Talbot's and the old Henry's, now Pluto's. The Old Pro and or the Patio or maybe even the Elks if someone's a member?

Or how about Yum Cha Palace in Menlo Park across from Kepler's? They've got a large bar area with a tv and attract a bigger crowd at lunch than at dinner and the owner's very helpful and interested in new ideas to expand his diner traffic.

Thoughts?

Also, I'm curious whether the new $35,000 a MONTH penthouses that are reportedly going to be used by companies will be subject to the hotel tax as Airbnb's. Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 7, 2018 at 6:25 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

diner traffic = dinner traffic. Sorry.


42 people like this
Posted by M. Garza
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 7, 2018 at 8:25 pm

>Are there any of their ancestors who could apply for an Indian casino in Palo Alto?

[Portion removed] my family can trace its roots back to the Spanish land grant era. My ancestors were land rich but cash poor & with the westward expansion into California, they lost much of their acreage due to title disputes.

To make a long story short, my great grandfather (x10) married an Ohlone girl (the Spanish called them Costanoans) & was banished from his family. They settled near what is today Barron Park and worked as sharecroppers.

While my family tree has bifurcated countless times, I believe I am 1/1024th Ohlone Indian.

Does one need to a member of an active tribe in order to operate an Indian casino in Palo Alto or can you procure an individual permit to start one?



6 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 7, 2018 at 10:18 pm

@Online Name, "... I'm curious whether the new $35,000 a MONTH penthouses that are reportedly going to be used by companies will be subject to the hotel tax ..."

Keyword is MONTH. That is outside the definition of short-term "transient" occupancy.


4 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 7, 2018 at 11:07 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

Musical, ah. Thanks for the clarification so those places are tax-free?

Rethinking Annette's suggestion of the Old Pro, I don't think their patrons would be eager to watch CC meeting instead of their usual sports events.


4 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 8, 2018 at 12:34 am

Off-topic -- Around a decade ago someone suggested an afternoon get-together of Town Square denizens one day at The Patio. I forget who it was, and can't find that thread among the millions of archives. Turned out the venue was closed for another party, so the instigator moved our event to either Old Pro or Nola's. I missed it in the confusion, but heard that a small handful managed to show up. Back in the go-go days of internet blossoming in the late nineties, a stock market forum named Silicon Investor convened a well-attended gala up in San Francisco. Fascinating to meet the faces behind the diverse opinions. I think we all lost our nascent fortunes in the ensuing crash. Ancient history now.


2 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 8, 2018 at 7:22 am

Online Name is a registered user.

Musical, I remember that thread but forget the details. Lots of similar "community" examples and not all ancient history.

Many communities held/hold "face-to-face" events which are interesting since people's online personae differ drastically from their "real" ones.
(This is also why many women don't use their real names in some communities but that's another swerve.)

Ryze, a short-lived Silicon Valley business networking "community," held a reception at Tamarine during one of the dot.bomb crashes that was so packed people spilled out onto the sidewalk. Paying members got to see photos and bios to get a jump on their networking.

The Well, a long-lived "pioneering" community founded in the mid 80s, held monthly parties. special annual events plus regional and special-interest events.


4 people like this
Posted by R. Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 8, 2018 at 9:08 am

QUOTE:...an Indian casino in Palo Alto?

*trying to think where it could be situated..* Somewhere along ECR in Barron Park?

A gaming casino would certainly create a lot of new jobs.

All it needs now is a catchy name & some big-name entertainment (e.g. Celine Dion, The Blue People, David Copperfield et al).

A developer's dream.



9 people like this
Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 8, 2018 at 9:36 am

@R. Davis...yes, theoretically that's how it's supposed to work, and boy oh boy, you will you ever hear about and learn about that during campaign (vote grabber) season, but in the end the CC's main focus is on keeping businesses and developers/builders happy.


12 people like this
Posted by Willing to Pay for This
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 8, 2018 at 9:53 am

How about a tax on bicycles as well?

Issue city licenses based on registration. It would also aid in theft recovery.

Ticket/citations to all offenders. Same price as the license fee.

Keep the fee costs reasonable so all can afford to pay.

With all the bikes in PA, this would generate sizeable tax revenue.


5 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 8, 2018 at 10:34 am

Annette is a registered user.

John Grisham wrote a short story about a this very thing - local hustler claimed to be an Indian and opened a casino. Things went pretty well - until they didn't.

I was joking about Old Pro and The Patio! But I like the idea of a bike tax. Or at least registration. It makes sense since bikes and cars share the road. Boston did this years ago; I laughed as I registered my toddler's tricycle. Gotta love government.


3 people like this
Posted by Bill
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 8, 2018 at 10:58 am

> *trying to think where it could be situated..* Somewhere along ECR in Barron Park?
>
> A gaming casino would certainly create a lot of new jobs.
>
> All it needs now is a catchy name & some big-name entertainment (e.g. Celine Dion, The Blue People, David Copperfield et al).

Oh, Barron Park isn't fancy enough for that kinda talent. I'd vote for Midtown.

Even better, how about we trash Cubberly and build one there. We could call it "The Keene Casino at Cubberly".


4 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 8, 2018 at 11:33 am

Online Name is a registered user.

Back to the hotel tax. This makes for interesting reading.
Web Link


14 people like this
Posted by Roll Them Dice
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 8, 2018 at 2:35 pm

Would love to see a gaming casino in Palo Alto with celebrity entertainment.

It would also have to offer a world-class buffet as well.


12 people like this
Posted by Count Me In
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 8, 2018 at 3:00 pm

Does one have to be an actual descendant of an Ohlone to operate a casino in Palo Alto?

To rule out other tribes might be discrimination unless a geographic background is a mandatory prerequisite.

Could an East Indian also qualify if they had the financial backing?

Being 1/2 Jewish, I should qualify as my ancestors are members of a lost tribe.


Like this comment
Posted by Abalone Man
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 8, 2018 at 3:14 pm

"It would also have to offer a world-class buffet as well."

With 'all you eat' abalone and oysters.

These were Ohlone food staples and we must honor the tradition.


4 people like this
Posted by Expedia.com
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 8, 2018 at 6:37 pm

"I'm curious whether the new $35,000 a MONTH penthouses that are reportedly going to be used by companies will be subject to the hotel tax ..."

What kind of amenities come with a $35K monthly penthouse rental?

I've heard of expensive/exclusive suites at the top of 4-star hotels in major international cities...

But nothing of the likes in Palo Alto.




5 people like this
Posted by R. Davis
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 8, 2018 at 8:44 pm

>>What kind of amenities come with a $35K monthly penthouse rental? I've heard of expensive/exclusive suites at the top of 4-star hotels in major international cities...But nothing of the likes in Palo Alto.

The California Suite on the 18th floor of the Mark Hopkins Hotel in SF goes for $3,700.00 per night + taxes. That equates to well over $114,700.00 per month or roughly $1.35 million+ (if projected over a period of a year).

At $35,000.00 per month, the PA penthouse will probably be quite nice but pale in comparison to its venerable counterpart on Nob Hill.

On the other hand, the expansive views of rush-hour traffic crawling along the Bayshore Freeway & El Camino Real should prove breathtaking.




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Posted by resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 9, 2018 at 9:31 am

We have and approve hotels in PA because there is a need. Hotels come here because they think they can meet their goals for achieving a profit ratio. But at some point we have saturated the area and filled the need. Raising the hotel tax is a major buzz kill for the hotels - people can go over the city line to an adjoining town. This city keeps thwarting actual businesses for some reason or another. Vote no on the tax and let the hotels sell more rooms. No - I do not work for a hotel. But I am watching Menlo Park build more hotels so the area has choices in abundance.


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Posted by 7-11 in PA
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Aug 9, 2018 at 10:09 am

Interesting. It seems like there are a sizable number of folks who would like to see a gaming casino in Palo Alto.

Is this due to the NFL/MLB/NBA teams in the immediate & related sports betting? Or traditionalists who enjoy playing the slots and/or the other wagers like blackjack, poker, roulette, craps etc.?

A casino in PA would certainly alleviate driving/travel time for those locals who like to gamble + attract out-of-town visitors as well.

Good for the hospitality businesses & restaurants. Bad for traffic.


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Posted by Place Your Bets...
a resident of another community
on Aug 9, 2018 at 12:18 pm

> Interesting. It seems like there are a sizable number of folks who would like to see a gaming casino in Palo Alto.

Everyday life is a gamble. Might as well do it with money.

The big boys (developers & industrialists) do.


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Posted by I'm All For It...
a resident of South of Midtown
on Aug 9, 2018 at 5:51 pm

A Palo Alto casino would add to the city's reputation as a prominent player in the world of high-tech and business.

It would also pay homage to the memory and historical significance of the Abaloney Indians who used to inhabit the area long before the Spanish arrived.

Page Mill Road or somewhere along El Camino would be an ideal site.


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Posted by Not Necessarily
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 10, 2018 at 3:55 pm

>>Raising the hotel tax is a major buzz kill for the hotels - people can go over the city line to an adjoining town

A buzz-kill yes. But when the hotels in other towns are booked solid, travelers will have to return to those in PA that have vacancies.

Still I agree with the NO vote.


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