News

Four council candidates raise more than $50,000 each

Cory Wolbach and Alison Cormack lead the Palo Alto field, but Tom DuBois and Eric Filseth narrow the gap

Four out of five candidates for seats on the Palo Alto City Council have now each raised more than $50,000 for their respective campaigns, underscoring the growing role of money in local politics.

Councilman Cory Wolbach, who is seeking a second term, and Alison Cormack continue to lead the field, with total reported contributions of $73,824 and $67,078, respectively. But their edge over Councilmen Tom DuBois and Eric Filseth has shrunk, with both members of the council's wing that favors slower city growth bringing in significant contributions over the past month, according to the latest campaign-finance disclosures.

DuBois received $22,209 in contributions between Sept. 23 and Oct. 20, according to the legally required documents, more than any other candidate, bringing his total to $59,634. Filseth saw $14,358 in contributions during the same period and now has $51,731 in his campaign chest.

Pat Boone, the fifth council candidate, received contributions totaling $919, according to the documents.

The new numbers reflect the changing nature of campaigning in Palo Alto. In 2014, when Filseth, DuBois and Wolbach were first elected to the council, each raised less than $30,000 for his respective campaign: Filseth received $26,127, Wolbach brought in $25,586 and DuBois raised $23,859.

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The topic came up in recent debates, where all candidates disparaged the growing role of money in council campaigns and voiced general support for campaign-finance reform measures that would limit contributions.

In the meantime, however, the fundraising season remains in full swing, with all four candidates receiving big checks in the weeks leading up to the election. Wolbach, who continues to lead the pack, has seen his re-election campaign bolstered in the past month by contributions from various labor groups, both local and regional. Palo Alto Professional Firefighters has contributed $1,000 to Wolbach, as has the political action committee of Laborers Local Union 270, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union 332. Sprinkler Fitters and Apprentices Local 483 contributed $500, while Service Employees International Union Local 521, which represents about half of Palo Alto's city employees, gave $250.

Wolbach also received $250 from the California Real Estate Political Action Committee — California Association of Realtors.

Most of Wolbach's other contributions in the latest reporting period come from local residents, including economist Stephen Levy, co-founder of the citizens group Palo Alto Forward ($250), former council member Gail Price ($75) and former Architectural Review Board member Lee Lippert ($100). Wolbach also received a $250 check from planning commissioner Michael Alcheck, which he then returned.

Unlike Wolbach, Cormack received all of her contributions in the latest reporting period from individuals, most of them from Palo Alto. Engineer Shilpa Singhal contributed $1,000 to her campaign; every other donation was for a smaller amount. Susan Thom, who worked with Cormack on the 2008 campaign to pass a library bond, contributed $250; Grace Mah, a board member at Santa Clara County Office of Education, contributed $99. Josh Becker, a Menlo Park resident and chairman of Lex Machina, gave $125, while Owen Byrd, general counsel at Lex Machina, gave another $100.

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Cormack also received contributions from retired attorney Hal Mickelson ($100), housing advocate John Kelley ($100) and Stanford University career and leadership coach Cindy Greig ($100).

DuBois and Filseth received the biggest lift in the past month, with many local donors making equal contributions to each of them. Palo Alto residents Kat Gibbs, Judy Koch, Roger McCarthy, Robert McIntyre and William Quackenbush each donated $1,000 to each of the two candidates.

The top contributor to any campaign in the past month was Jeff Hoel, a longtime advocate for expanding Palo Alto's fiber-optic ring, who contributed $5,000 to DuBois. This was the only contribution of more than $1,000 reported in the latest period, in contrast to the prior period (which stretched from July 1 to July 22), in which several local families made $5,000 contributions to both DuBois and Filseth.

Palo Alto residents Paula Rantz and Michael Rantz, who gave thousands of dollars to council candidates in 2016, this year contributed $950 and $850, respectively, to both the DuBois and the Filseth campaigns.

In addition to the influx of cash, both DuBois and Filseth have received support from the political action committee Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning, which has been running ads in support of both candidates. The group, which was created in the aftermath of the 2013 citizen referendum on a proposed housing development on Maybell Avenue, advocates for slow city growth policies and has endorsed both candidates.

According to the latest campaign finance documents, the group spent $1,485 on ads in the Weekly to support of DuBois and another $1,485 to support Filseth. Further underscoring the alliance between the two competing candidates is the $500 contribution that Filseth made to DuBois' campaign.

DuBois' strong fundraising month was also bolstered by $500 contributions from local residents Doria Summa, Sally Rudd, Thomas Rindfleisch, Janet Dafoe, Neilson Buchanan and Malcolm Beasley.

Filseth raised $14,358 in the latest reporting period, with almost all of his contributions coming from Palo Alto residents. Gale Johnson, Megan Barton Rindfleisch, Rudd each contributed $500 to Filseth, while Allen Akin, Jennifer Fryhling, Sheryl Klein and Lisa Berkowitz Landers each gave $250.

Boone, meanwhile, has consistently said he is proud of the fact that he is not raising as much cash as the others, highlighting it as one of the main differences between himself and the other candidates. The two contributions he received in the latest filing period both came from Palo Alto residents, Cindy Goral ($99) and Suzanne Keehn ($150).

The five candidates are vying for three spots on the City Council, which is set to see its number of seats reduced from nine to seven next year. Council members Karen Holman and Greg Scharff are both terming out and are now vying for an open seat on the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District board.

• View the candidates' campaign-finance forms: Pat Boone | Alison Cormack | Tom DuBois | Eric Filseth | Cory Wolbach

For complete 2018 election information, check out the Palo Alto voters' guide.

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Four council candidates raise more than $50,000 each

Cory Wolbach and Alison Cormack lead the Palo Alto field, but Tom DuBois and Eric Filseth narrow the gap

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Fri, Oct 26, 2018, 6:30 am

Four out of five candidates for seats on the Palo Alto City Council have now each raised more than $50,000 for their respective campaigns, underscoring the growing role of money in local politics.

Councilman Cory Wolbach, who is seeking a second term, and Alison Cormack continue to lead the field, with total reported contributions of $73,824 and $67,078, respectively. But their edge over Councilmen Tom DuBois and Eric Filseth has shrunk, with both members of the council's wing that favors slower city growth bringing in significant contributions over the past month, according to the latest campaign-finance disclosures.

DuBois received $22,209 in contributions between Sept. 23 and Oct. 20, according to the legally required documents, more than any other candidate, bringing his total to $59,634. Filseth saw $14,358 in contributions during the same period and now has $51,731 in his campaign chest.

Pat Boone, the fifth council candidate, received contributions totaling $919, according to the documents.

The new numbers reflect the changing nature of campaigning in Palo Alto. In 2014, when Filseth, DuBois and Wolbach were first elected to the council, each raised less than $30,000 for his respective campaign: Filseth received $26,127, Wolbach brought in $25,586 and DuBois raised $23,859.

The topic came up in recent debates, where all candidates disparaged the growing role of money in council campaigns and voiced general support for campaign-finance reform measures that would limit contributions.

In the meantime, however, the fundraising season remains in full swing, with all four candidates receiving big checks in the weeks leading up to the election. Wolbach, who continues to lead the pack, has seen his re-election campaign bolstered in the past month by contributions from various labor groups, both local and regional. Palo Alto Professional Firefighters has contributed $1,000 to Wolbach, as has the political action committee of Laborers Local Union 270, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union 332. Sprinkler Fitters and Apprentices Local 483 contributed $500, while Service Employees International Union Local 521, which represents about half of Palo Alto's city employees, gave $250.

Wolbach also received $250 from the California Real Estate Political Action Committee — California Association of Realtors.

Most of Wolbach's other contributions in the latest reporting period come from local residents, including economist Stephen Levy, co-founder of the citizens group Palo Alto Forward ($250), former council member Gail Price ($75) and former Architectural Review Board member Lee Lippert ($100). Wolbach also received a $250 check from planning commissioner Michael Alcheck, which he then returned.

Unlike Wolbach, Cormack received all of her contributions in the latest reporting period from individuals, most of them from Palo Alto. Engineer Shilpa Singhal contributed $1,000 to her campaign; every other donation was for a smaller amount. Susan Thom, who worked with Cormack on the 2008 campaign to pass a library bond, contributed $250; Grace Mah, a board member at Santa Clara County Office of Education, contributed $99. Josh Becker, a Menlo Park resident and chairman of Lex Machina, gave $125, while Owen Byrd, general counsel at Lex Machina, gave another $100.

Cormack also received contributions from retired attorney Hal Mickelson ($100), housing advocate John Kelley ($100) and Stanford University career and leadership coach Cindy Greig ($100).

DuBois and Filseth received the biggest lift in the past month, with many local donors making equal contributions to each of them. Palo Alto residents Kat Gibbs, Judy Koch, Roger McCarthy, Robert McIntyre and William Quackenbush each donated $1,000 to each of the two candidates.

The top contributor to any campaign in the past month was Jeff Hoel, a longtime advocate for expanding Palo Alto's fiber-optic ring, who contributed $5,000 to DuBois. This was the only contribution of more than $1,000 reported in the latest period, in contrast to the prior period (which stretched from July 1 to July 22), in which several local families made $5,000 contributions to both DuBois and Filseth.

Palo Alto residents Paula Rantz and Michael Rantz, who gave thousands of dollars to council candidates in 2016, this year contributed $950 and $850, respectively, to both the DuBois and the Filseth campaigns.

In addition to the influx of cash, both DuBois and Filseth have received support from the political action committee Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning, which has been running ads in support of both candidates. The group, which was created in the aftermath of the 2013 citizen referendum on a proposed housing development on Maybell Avenue, advocates for slow city growth policies and has endorsed both candidates.

According to the latest campaign finance documents, the group spent $1,485 on ads in the Weekly to support of DuBois and another $1,485 to support Filseth. Further underscoring the alliance between the two competing candidates is the $500 contribution that Filseth made to DuBois' campaign.

DuBois' strong fundraising month was also bolstered by $500 contributions from local residents Doria Summa, Sally Rudd, Thomas Rindfleisch, Janet Dafoe, Neilson Buchanan and Malcolm Beasley.

Filseth raised $14,358 in the latest reporting period, with almost all of his contributions coming from Palo Alto residents. Gale Johnson, Megan Barton Rindfleisch, Rudd each contributed $500 to Filseth, while Allen Akin, Jennifer Fryhling, Sheryl Klein and Lisa Berkowitz Landers each gave $250.

Boone, meanwhile, has consistently said he is proud of the fact that he is not raising as much cash as the others, highlighting it as one of the main differences between himself and the other candidates. The two contributions he received in the latest filing period both came from Palo Alto residents, Cindy Goral ($99) and Suzanne Keehn ($150).

The five candidates are vying for three spots on the City Council, which is set to see its number of seats reduced from nine to seven next year. Council members Karen Holman and Greg Scharff are both terming out and are now vying for an open seat on the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District board.

• View the candidates' campaign-finance forms: Pat Boone | Alison Cormack | Tom DuBois | Eric Filseth | Cory Wolbach

For complete 2018 election information, check out the Palo Alto voters' guide.

Comments

Help Save Palo Alto
Community Center
on Oct 26, 2018 at 4:07 am
Help Save Palo Alto, Community Center
on Oct 26, 2018 at 4:07 am
70 people like this

We'll only know after the election about last minute contributions from developers, as happened in 2016. The state' Fair Political Practices Commission is still investigating Mayor Kniss's 2016 campaign filings, in which contributions from developers were reported late and not transparently.

So which candidates favor developers? If you can't tell from their political contributions, consider the votes of the three incumbents on growth issues. The list by Palo Alto Matters at Web Link - shows DuBois and Filseth repeatedly voting against commercial growth while Wolbach voted mostly for it. And Cormick's answers to the Palo Alto Neighborhoods questionnaire at Web Link shows she's not strongly opposed to tech offices taking over where neighborhood-serving businesses are supposed to be. That's exactly what developers favor, because they earn far more in rent from tech companies.

We need councilmembers who will fight for our community. Based on their answers to questionnaires and past votes of incumbents, that sounds like Boone, DuBois, and Filseth.


Voting
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2018 at 4:43 am
Voting, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2018 at 4:43 am
57 people like this

Thanks, Help Save Palo Alto, for posting a link to Palo Alto Matters vote comparison table. That’s a real service by Palo Alto Matters to the community by giving us in one place the facts on who voted how and why it matters. Reading it will certainly affect my vote.

Will the PA Weekly do similar reporting on the Holman-Scharff race for Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District Board? Last time, Scharff spent about $100K to buy his seat, most of it with his own money. Holman won anyway with the most votes. I head Scharff is pouring a lot of his own money into the MROSD race too. We don’t need a developer-friendly real estate lawyer on the board of our open space district.

Scharff started the trend of high cost campaigns in Palo Alto. Vote for Holman for Midpen Board.


Impressed
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2018 at 7:31 am
Impressed , Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2018 at 7:31 am
65 people like this

I just looked at the first web link that Help Save Palo Alto has in their post and was impressed by these comparative charts of candidate’s votes. Certainly dispels the myth that some candidates are more pro-housing than others.

Given Cormack never says anything new or of substance or with specifics in all her many mailers that jam my mailbox. and in her many ads, I wish she was out of money now. Never have I seen a candidate have so much money with so little to offer.

And Wolbach just makes stuff up - says he was for the office cap but wasn’t (see web link), which hurts housing and traffic, and makes a big thing about being for more renter protections but only supports weak ones that won’t matter much. Not money well spent on him.

But DuBois and Filseth did what they said and said what they did, given their voting record. Good on housing and the office cap. Where’s my checkbook?


The Politics of Money
College Terrace
on Oct 26, 2018 at 8:14 am
The Politics of Money, College Terrace
on Oct 26, 2018 at 8:14 am
8 people like this

A lot of money for tacky street sign expenditures.


BP
Crescent Park
on Oct 26, 2018 at 8:18 am
BP, Crescent Park
on Oct 26, 2018 at 8:18 am
10 people like this

So, Cormack received $1000 from Shilpa Singhal. Can’t help but wonder if she is the wife of Amit Singhal ( who got booted out of Google/Uber for sexual harassment). If yes, I wonder what is Cormack thinking?


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2018 at 8:19 am
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2018 at 8:19 am
22 people like this

Another good reason to vote for Boone.


What’s Going On?
Community Center
on Oct 26, 2018 at 8:32 am
What’s Going On?, Community Center
on Oct 26, 2018 at 8:32 am
54 people like this

The most alarming part of the story is the multiple donations Wolbach got from unions. How can he be trusted to negotiate with the unions the best interests of the city and the taxpayers when he is now politically obligated to them? We have seen in San Jose that once a council member takes their money, the official cannot cross the union without peril.


No mysteries here
Midtown
on Oct 26, 2018 at 10:33 am
No mysteries here, Midtown
on Oct 26, 2018 at 10:33 am
29 people like this

Michael Alcheck,Planning Commissioner) has made it clear he is not a member of any development cabal.
He just tried to donate $250 to Cory Wolbach.
(chuckle)


Sick of DuBois and filseth
Charleston Meadows
on Oct 26, 2018 at 10:36 am
Sick of DuBois and filseth , Charleston Meadows
on Oct 26, 2018 at 10:36 am
16 people like this

DuBois and filseth are raising multiple $5k donations from a single person. That is absurd and should be stopped. They are clearly in the pocket of their donors. We all know DuBois already pushes the 20th century fiber to everywhere plan which is boneheaded, and now we see he gets campaign support for it.

My vote is going to Cormack and Wolbach who have shown themselves to be balanced and are actually working to earn multiple donations and votes.


PASZ is a PAC
College Terrace
on Oct 26, 2018 at 10:49 am
PASZ is a PAC, College Terrace
on Oct 26, 2018 at 10:49 am
16 people like this

[Portion removed.]

DuBois and FIlseth are completely beholden to the anti-housing and anti-schools agenda of PASZ. It's just a bunch of old people who want to Make Palo Alto 1975 again.


PAF - Pro Developer PAC
Community Center
on Oct 26, 2018 at 12:11 pm
PAF - Pro Developer PAC, Community Center
on Oct 26, 2018 at 12:11 pm
43 people like this

[Portion removed.]

PASZ is looking out for issues like traffic, parking and the safety of our children. Not over development, especially of office. Eric and Tom's voting record on affordable housing is strong. Many developers oppose this because it cuts into their profit margins and will say anything to make a few more bucks off of over developing Palo Alto.


campaign coffers
College Terrace
on Oct 26, 2018 at 12:30 pm
campaign coffers, College Terrace
on Oct 26, 2018 at 12:30 pm
30 people like this

The other big ticket race is between Karen Holman and Greg Scharff for the Mid Peninsula Open Space District Board. As of a few weeks ago Greg Scharff had donated over $81K of his OWN money to pay a PR firm to run a professional campaign. Karen Holman has donated a minimum of her own money and is relying on grass roots support and an army of volunteers familiar with her decades of devoted service to environmental issues, especially the Mid Peninsula Open Space District.

With this latest reporting period, it would be interesting if the Weekly also update the campaign finances for these two individuals. Or if someone has a link to Geg Scharff's updated reporting period.


PAF vs PASZ
Greater Miranda
on Oct 26, 2018 at 12:57 pm
PAF vs PASZ, Greater Miranda
on Oct 26, 2018 at 12:57 pm
9 people like this

Let’s get our facts straight.

Palo Alto Forward is a 501c3 non profit advocating for housing and transportation solutions. They are funded by member donations, and as a non profit, cannot endorse/support anything political.

Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning is a political action committee [portion removed due to inaccurate content.]


Cormack and Wolbach are more balanced
Greenmeadow
on Oct 26, 2018 at 1:00 pm
Cormack and Wolbach are more balanced , Greenmeadow
on Oct 26, 2018 at 1:00 pm
13 people like this

All this fight over money is hogwash. In the grand scheme of things, DuBois and Filseth have a narrow and uncharitable view of Palo Alto - that we should pull up the gates and fight the future.

I’m voting for Cormack and Wolbach because they listen, learn, and even seem to disagree on major items. They will do a much better job representing diverse Palo Alto residents.


art
Barron Park
on Oct 26, 2018 at 1:05 pm
art, Barron Park
on Oct 26, 2018 at 1:05 pm
3 people like this

Lazy Journalism. Why so many articles, so much column space devoted just about how much money the candidates have raised. Who cares? All that energy and professionalism could have been and should have been used at exploring in detail the candidates' positions, picking apart their glad sounding but short on details campaign rhetoric. No wonder local journalism is becoming an endangered species.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2018 at 1:07 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 26, 2018 at 1:07 pm
15 people like this

Local elections are becoming more and more like national elections as the winner is more likely to be the one who raises the most money. The follow through is that the candidate who makes the most promises to donors will get the most money and therefore will win.

This is so wrong from so many levels. I want to see more independent candidates without the need to placate their donors and can lead without worrying about upsetting someone who they might need to get support from next time around.

There should be caps on the amount any candidate can spend on an election. Let's get rid of all the shiny brochures then mainly get put straight into recycling bins. Let's get rid of all the lawn signs that do very little than get a name out there. Let's get back to listening to the candidates at the local forums where they are standing on equal footing and not on the fancy meet the candidate parties where all the back patting and praises sound artificial and insincere.


Curious
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2018 at 1:15 pm
Curious, Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2018 at 1:15 pm
2 people like this

Are the candidates allowed to keep the money that doesn't go towards campaign expenditures?

Or are they required to spend it all on their election/re-election efforts?


JCP
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Oct 26, 2018 at 1:44 pm
JCP, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Oct 26, 2018 at 1:44 pm
4 people like this

I'm surprised only Wolbach received contributions from firefighters. Everyone on the council except Tanaka is afraid to vote against pay increases to city staff and emergency workers for fear of not receiving attention or resources from city staff.

It's a real issue and at the root of the pension crisis. [Portion removed.]


Gale Johnson
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2018 at 2:42 pm
Gale Johnson, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Oct 26, 2018 at 2:42 pm
28 people like this

[Portion removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]

Of course you didn't say it but I also assume you think PAF's funding is all lily white clean money from people looking out only for the best interests of our residents, and yes, including us older retired residents (commonly referred to by PAF supporters as NIMBY's), and not for developers more interested in their bottom lines for office projects.

Just look at where campaign contributions come from. Real estate and union interests stand out in some campaigns. Other campaigns are heavily supported by residents, like myself, hoping for the best CC members who will truly represent and act on our behalf. I hope voters will take the time, and it does take a lot of time, to review all information made available by The Weekly and the other paper, the Daily Post, on the candidates.

This is serious business and it shouldn't be a matter of voting for the most signs posted by candidates on corners of shopping centers or on front lawns. Absolutely the worst way, but I'm sure all candidates take advantage of that.
A lazy uninformed electorate is the devil's tool!

All candidates are in favor of affordable housing, solutions for our traffic, parking, infrastructure, grade separation, neighborhood protection, and budget problems. They differ widely, however, on ways to solve them, including how much residents should pay through taxes or bonds, for them. I am supporting Dubois and Filseth for their voting records and also because they bring their educational and work experiences into play when deliberating issues. They are data driven candidates...they do their homework and get as many facts as they can about pros and cons of an issue before making a decision on how to vote. They understand bottom lines of private companies. They also understand the importance of treating taxpayer money with care. PA is a non-profit entity and as long as money can be sucked out of residents and taxpayers, there is sometimes little interest in curbing 'feel good' projects. And then there occasionally pops up a clever way of taxing us...the soda tax is an example. Oh, of course that for the sake of good dental hygiene/health. Thank goodness that was killed at the state level.

Something else that should be killed at the state level is the ADU relaxation legislation that was passed, and that our CC opted to expand on, and ABAG. I would like to hear from all candidates on how, and for what good purpose ABAG has served PA. We haven't come close to meeting housing mandates but were obedient in filing a report in time. We were good servants of the state. It bought us time, but it's a joke. We'll just file another report when the next deadline comes up. That can is getting kicked and kicked again...down the road, so abused by us. I'm starting to feel sorry for the can. Just throw it into recycling and get rid of it once and for all...put it out of it's misery.


Gale Johnson
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2018 at 3:22 pm
Gale Johnson, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Oct 26, 2018 at 3:22 pm
21 people like this

[Portion removed) [W]hy is the word 'residentialist' become such a bad word to use in this town anymore? We are a town of residentialists, or should be treated that way, looking out after one another and not for the outside interests of developers. Why is that so hard to understand?


Gale Johnson
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2018 at 3:58 pm
Gale Johnson, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Oct 26, 2018 at 3:58 pm
12 people like this

@art...You haven't been paying attention have you? Yes, I might agree that campaign contributions shouldn't be featured, and my name was used in one of the articles today, but The Weekly and the Daily Post have been following the campaign closely for a couple months and the Weekly articles are all available for you to view online as well as all the videos of interviews with candidates and the forums they participated in. So, I think, and would argue that journalism is alive and thriving in PA. But you have to avail yourself and make the effort of reading it or viewing it. They won't bring it to your door and offer a private discussion on it. Don't be a lazy, but concerned resident. We've got too many of them.


Gale Johnson
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2018 at 4:07 pm
Gale Johnson, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Oct 26, 2018 at 4:07 pm
Like this comment

[Post removed.]


buy a pol now? simply outbid the last buyer
Greenmeadow
on Oct 26, 2018 at 4:14 pm
buy a pol now? simply outbid the last buyer, Greenmeadow
on Oct 26, 2018 at 4:14 pm
7 people like this

Tired of bought-and-paid-for politicians?

Public financing of local elections.

Better that you and I 'own' them, than a bunch of special interest groups.


Gale Johnson
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 26, 2018 at 4:28 pm
Gale Johnson, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Oct 26, 2018 at 4:28 pm
4 people like this

I think it's time to stop posting because of so many "portions removed"! One of mine was deleted because of "previous deletion of referenced comment". If the comments were opposite, but canceling, then that wouldn't be so bad.


You Can't Go Back
Community Center
on Oct 26, 2018 at 5:47 pm
You Can't Go Back, Community Center
on Oct 26, 2018 at 5:47 pm
2 people like this

There is no turning back. Palo Alto is already overdeveloped so adding several more office buildings won't make a bit of difference to the overall landscape. And neither will a moratorium on further office/hotel/high-rise developments. except for some of the older, quieter residential neighborrhoods, Palo Alto is paved over.

It's time to accept that PA has become what it is...a congested city with all of the gridlock that accompanies such an environment.

Old time residentialists can complain all they want and housing-displaced Millennials will continue to press for more high-rises like the one ones on San Antonio Road.

Meanwhile the PACC candidates will provide just enough lip service to appease the various factions and ensure their election or re-election.

To debate this issue over and over is a waste of time and energy. Either stay in Palo Alto and accept the changes or move on. Simple as that.



Zayda
Registered user
Barron Park
on Oct 27, 2018 at 1:14 am
Zayda, Barron Park
Registered user
on Oct 27, 2018 at 1:14 am
34 people like this

@PASZ is a PAC
Get your facts straight.
PASZ is NEITHER anti-housing NOR anti-schools. The Maybell Action Group, the forerunner of PASZ, was never against the senior housing project itself, only the dense market-rate development PAHC claimed it had to do to pay for the housing. Like it claimed that low-income seniors don't drive, should shop at Whole Foods and go to Planned Parenthood for medical care. And the resulting extra traffic would have endangered the kids on bikes using Maybell as a 'safe route' to schools.
DuBois and Filseth run their own campaigns. PASZ endorses them because we believe they have the interests of the residents at heart, not the developers who fund PAF. Just read their voting record at Web Link.


Facts Matter
Community Center
on Oct 27, 2018 at 11:05 am
Facts Matter, Community Center
on Oct 27, 2018 at 11:05 am
35 people like this

I looked at the very informative voting records list on Palo Alto Matters. In addition to their records on commercial development, they have a list of housing votes, Web Link. Contrary to claims made above by Wolbach supporters, Dubois and Filseth have consistently supported housing.
They have differed from Wolbach on several key issues. Wolbach opposed higher affordable housing impact fees on commercial development while Dubois and Filseth supported them. More importantly, in 2017 Wolbach supported twice as much commercial development over the next 12 years as did Wolbach. That extra 850,000 of new offices would have driven twice the demand for new housing as the 3,500-4,200 units that the Comp Plan hopes to have built in that period. Wolbach's position would have worsened our jobs/housing imbalance while Dubois and Filseth's will improve it. Wolbach recently reversed himself in the face of a re-election campaign (like he has done on other issues) upon pressure from the citizen's office cap initiative.
Incredibly, he now claims to have kept his campaign promise from four years ago that he would slow office growth. His voting record clearly shows he did the opposite, Web Link.
However one feels about the issues, voters need to be able to trust that what candidates promise is roughly what they live up to in office.


Facts Matter
Community Center
on Oct 27, 2018 at 11:08 am
Facts Matter, Community Center
on Oct 27, 2018 at 11:08 am
39 people like this

My post should have said that Wolbach supported twice as much commercial/office development over the next 12 years than did Dubois and filseth.


Zayda
Registered user
Barron Park
on Oct 27, 2018 at 1:07 pm
Zayda, Barron Park
Registered user
on Oct 27, 2018 at 1:07 pm
7 people like this

Oops, the website link in my comment above should have been Web Link


Independent Expenditures
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 27, 2018 at 5:32 pm
Independent Expenditures, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 27, 2018 at 5:32 pm
42 people like this

I received two mailers today (addressed to different family members) by the California Apartment Association Housing Solutions Committee, with major funding from the California Apartment Association, both for Alison Cormack for City Council. What will Ms. Cormack give to the landlord lobby if she gets elected?


Developers for Cormack?
College Terrace
on Oct 27, 2018 at 6:20 pm
Developers for Cormack?, College Terrace
on Oct 27, 2018 at 6:20 pm
36 people like this

My friend got the same. I guess we know who Alison Cormack is working for now - not residents, not even renters - but just straight-up housing developers.


Dont trust her
Midtown
on Oct 27, 2018 at 6:48 pm
Dont trust her, Midtown
on Oct 27, 2018 at 6:48 pm
31 people like this

Alison Cormack is a stealth candidate. She avoids taking a position on Anything.
I do not trust such a person.
Is she concerned that if she said what she believed people wouldn't vote for her?
Most candidates proclaim what they stand for, even if they have to make it up (like Wolbach), because they think it will bring them support.
Sometimes they are just honest and say what they believe. But not Cormack. What is she hiding? That is the central question.

Very polished, very skillful, very untrustworthy.


Seymour
Evergreen Park
on Oct 28, 2018 at 8:21 am
Seymour, Evergreen Park
on Oct 28, 2018 at 8:21 am
14 people like this

Vote for Pat Boone, Dubois and Filseth.


Work the Loopholes...All Politicians Do
Palo Alto Hills
on Oct 28, 2018 at 8:53 am
Work the Loopholes...All Politicians Do, Palo Alto Hills
on Oct 28, 2018 at 8:53 am
16 people like this

>>> Are the candidates allowed to keep the money that doesn't go towards campaign expenditures?

Or are they required to spend it all on their election/re-election efforts?


Being a small time local election of no major consequence, I am not exactly sure what the exact rules are but there might be a way to tap into the cash for personal use. Depending upon how much a candidate raises (say $50,000.00 or more), instead of spending the resources on stupid lawn signs and print advertisements, apply the $50K towards a really nice car like a Porsche or McLaren. Then have a removable plastic campaign sign attached to the sides of the vehicle. When the election is over, simply sell the car off. Since the campaign funding resources will have been fully restored, no one can accuse you of being a crook...just someone running for local office who enjoys driving a cool car.

Then apply the accrued campaign funds for the next upcoming election and choose another high-end vehicle...maybe even a Ferrari.

...from a Palo Alto resident and CPA who doesn't get overly involved in local elections but loves/owns expensive, gas-guzzling vintage-era roadsters.


Palo Alto Upward
Community Center
on Oct 28, 2018 at 10:07 am
Palo Alto Upward, Community Center
on Oct 28, 2018 at 10:07 am
29 people like this

Palo Alto Forward's slogan "Go Big" includes opposing the office cap as can be read on their website here:

Web Link

They have consistently advocated for raising the height limit, increased density and reduced parking. [Portion removed.]


Facts Matter
Community Center
on Oct 28, 2018 at 11:17 am
Facts Matter, Community Center
on Oct 28, 2018 at 11:17 am
39 people like this

Thanks for the the link to Elaine Uang and PA Forward's opposition to an annual office cap. She, Steve Levy and the PA forward leadership have consistently opposed restraints on office growth.
Despite his campaign promises four years ago and his recent reversal on the Comp Plan cap during this campaign, Wolbach has led the charge on more office growth. The record here shows the reality of his voting record rather than the distorted campaign spin we are getting in his avalanche of glossy mailers,
Web Link. Early last year, Wolbach led the council action to allow 1.7 million square feet of new office citywide. At the same time, he proposed and got a narrow majority support for eliminating the separate Downtown commercial/office cap. Removing that that existing cap was the green light that enabled speculators to purchase the President Hotel and convert it to commercial (hotel) use. Wolbach also voted to dilute the annual office cap and remove reference to it from the Comp Plan. Dubois and Filseth opposed these moves while they have actually supported healthy residential growth, Web Link, despite repeated claims from the PA Forward crowd otherwise.
Facts, voting records and trust should matter. Candidates who campaigned one way and consistently voted the opposite have lost our trust as voters.


Campaign Loopholes..Part II
Menlo Park
on Oct 28, 2018 at 2:06 pm
Campaign Loopholes..Part II, Menlo Park
on Oct 28, 2018 at 2:06 pm
17 people like this

"Are the candidates allowed to keep the money that doesn't go towards campaign expenditures?

Or are they required to spend it all on their election/re-election efforts?"


Another accountant chiming in. In response to Question #1...as a general rule NO, because an on-demand post-election accounting could reveal fiscal misappropriations and mismanagement that might amount to election fraud for personal monetary gain.

On the other hand and if you are clever, certain personal expenses are permitted. For example, wardrobe, lodging, dining and some travel often fall under a general category of acceptable election expenses.

So...you could go to Ann Taylor or Wilkes-Bashford and outfit yourself for an upcoming debate. You could stay at the Stanford Court over the weekend (providing you are holding an election-related meeting of sorts). You are allowed to entertain campaign supporters over dinner at the French Laundry and in theory, you could also go to Paris to meet with a local civic leader to discuss French municipal politics as a 'fact-finding' tour of sorts.

I personally like the idea of leasing (or purchasing) a high-end sports car and tooling around PA with a removable campaign sign that says "Vote for me" and then removing it when traveling to Carmel for a short respite.

The potential 'freebies' are why some candidates run for public office in the first place. Winning or losing is oftentimes immaterial as it's an opportunity to enhance one's lifestyle at someone else's expense...akin to gambling with 'house money'. Outside of specific elections/campaigns, countless union trade bosses, the clergy, and key members of various political rings have been doing this for centuries.

Working the populace for personal gain is all part of the venerable American political culture. The key is not to personally get caught for something frivolous or overly outlandish.





The Sky's the Limit...Not
Community Center
on Oct 28, 2018 at 6:23 pm
The Sky's the Limit...Not, Community Center
on Oct 28, 2018 at 6:23 pm
10 people like this

> The key is not to personally get caught for something frivolous or overly outlandish.

And so a wise word to future candidates...don't go out and buy a Rolex or Harry Winston jewelry with your campaign funds as you might have difficulty explaining it.


Facts Matter
Community Center
on Oct 29, 2018 at 8:58 am
Facts Matter, Community Center
on Oct 29, 2018 at 8:58 am
20 people like this

How can Wolbach be trusted to negotiate with the unions on our behalf after taking their contributions for his campaign? This conflict of interest may be legal, but it is an indication that Cory is willing to sell out the interests of Palo Alto residents to advance his political career.


R.Davis
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Oct 29, 2018 at 9:54 am
R.Davis, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Oct 29, 2018 at 9:54 am
10 people like this

@ Work the Loopholes...All Politicians Do & Campaign Loopholes...Part II

Appreciated the insights. There are a lot of built-in incentives to run for public office. *L*


Shu Wen
Charleston Meadows
on Oct 29, 2018 at 9:20 pm
Shu Wen, Charleston Meadows
on Oct 29, 2018 at 9:20 pm
2 people like this

Chinese voters will want money back if candidate not win. Bad luck to waste dollars or yuan on losing effort.

That is why I choose not to run for mayor of city.


pickpocket
Palo Verde
on Oct 29, 2018 at 9:33 pm
pickpocket, Palo Verde
on Oct 29, 2018 at 9:33 pm
Like this comment

@Don't Trust Her: you said of Alison Cormack, "She avoids taking a position on Anything."

I know Alison; I accepted her open offer for an hour-long dog walk to discuss City politics.

I found her extremely well-informed and insightful on all the pressing PA issues.

While you, @Don't Trust Her, may want a candidate who espouses an extreme position (pro or anti commercial, pro or anti affordable housing, pro or anti HSR, etc.), Palo Alto really needs a realist who understands both sides and can forge a middle ground solution. I sincerely believe Alison is this candidate. She has earned my vote.


Facts Matter
Community Center
on Oct 30, 2018 at 1:15 pm
Facts Matter, Community Center
on Oct 30, 2018 at 1:15 pm
15 people like this

In addition to Wolbach having fundamentally reversed himself on his 2014 campaign promises to work to restrain office growth, he also committed to civility and better public processes. Unfortunately, he has consistently acted otherwise on the council. As The Weekly summed up, “Wolbach has not exhibited the restraint and forbearance needed to be effective on a council that requires more collaborative than advocacy skills”, Web Link.
Some eye opening examples are “Wolbach's pre-emptive move to gut the critical land-use plan was ill-timed and executed in a way that fuels conflict rather than seeks to build consensus. … he undercut all his previous political rhetoric about consensus-building and respectful debate.” Web Link. And, “Wolbach's pre-emptive move to gut the critical land-use plan was ill-timed and executed in a way that fuels conflict rather than seeks to build consensus. … he undercut all his previous political rhetoric about consensus-building and respectful debate.” Web Link. There are many other examples, but the pattern of uncivil and immature conduct, along with gamesmanship, is not what most of us our looking for in our representatives..



A Waste of Paper
College Terrace
on Oct 30, 2018 at 1:43 pm
A Waste of Paper, College Terrace
on Oct 30, 2018 at 1:43 pm
2 people like this

>> A lot of money for tacky street sign expenditures.

I can think of far better ways to spend $50K, some of which were mentioned by the accountants.


Fred Balin
Registered user
College Terrace
on Oct 30, 2018 at 6:54 pm
Fred Balin, College Terrace
Registered user
on Oct 30, 2018 at 6:54 pm
15 people like this

campaign coffers writes above 4 days ago:
"The other big ticket race is between Karen Holman and Greg Scharff for the Mid Peninsula Open Space District Board. As of a few weeks ago Greg Scharff had donated over $81K of his OWN money to pay a PR firm to run a professional campaign."

As per Daily Post reporting of today, Greg Scharff has increased his contribution to his Open Space District campaign by an additional $40K to a 2d pre-election filing total of $121,500.


Facts Matter
Community Center
on Oct 30, 2018 at 7:31 pm
Facts Matter, Community Center
on Oct 30, 2018 at 7:31 pm
17 people like this

@Fred Balin
Scharff spending nearly $120,000 of his own money for an Open Space District Board seat is just plain mind-boggling. Do you have any data on what had been the most a candidates for any of the District seats before this?
It's more than disappointing that the press is only treating as a tangential issue Scharff's plan to essentially buy an elective office. At least the Post had a front page article about the insidious expansion of big money in our city council campaigns. It seems that we have reached the pint where we need to move forward with local campaign finance limits if we are to regain our valued local citizen democracy.


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on Oct 31, 2018 at 10:05 am
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on Oct 31, 2018 at 10:05 am
2 people like this

When I ran for council (for 3rd time) in 2014, I asked Tom and Karen --both allies -- if they would stick to a $10k cap in hopes of getting all others, including A.C. Johnston and Greg Scharff, to follow suit.

In three successive campaigns I garnered a combined 8,000+ votes and spent a total of $2,000 in kind of my own money -- never taking contributions, turning down such. At 25 cents per vote, I am the most popular potential leader of this era, on a cost basis. (Granted, who knows that the next $5,000 would have brought?)

Ladoris Cordell, a judge, is the only person to get elected independent of a conforming yardsign-and-Weekly-banner race.

Could we think of a better use, in our community, for $200,000 or whatever it is? How about a Maroon 5 concert?

I have this year -- after pulling out of the race, after qualifying by petition of voters, because of my Mom's passing -- endorsed four of the five candidates: they are all qualifed to lead. Pat Boone, meanwhile, could possible break my record if he gets 5,000 or so votes and spends less than $1,000.

I think we should have one unified "victory party" for all three or four candidates with a concert by Mitch Woods, who played a wonderful show at Lytton Plaza this summer. (Ok, disclosure, he's a friend -- also Maroon 5 features Matt Flynn of Gunn High on drums, local angle; his parents live here)

Let's celebrate Democracy alive and well here, and still having the vote.


Fred Balin
Registered user
College Terrace
on Oct 31, 2018 at 9:37 pm
Fred Balin, College Terrace
Registered user
on Oct 31, 2018 at 9:37 pm
7 people like this

Facts Matter asked if I know the prior maximum spent by a candidate for an Open Space District Board race.

I do not, but what I do know is that:
- In the other contested MROSD race this year (in Ward 1), one candidate loaned himself $10K and has spent $4,300 as per the latest filing, and the other has not filed an FPPC 460 form, so the candidate most likely pledged to raise and spend less than $2,000.
- Going back to 2016, 2014, 2012, and 2010, there were only two contested races. In neither, was more than $5,000 spent. In one of those, a candidate loaned himself $4,700.

Asking around to folks who know much more about MROSD history than I do, I am informed that the amount loaned and spent by Greg Scharff in this election are unprecedented and beyond an order of magnitude more that any prior district candidate.

Is the amount unprecedented in an election for any environmental position in the area in recent years? No, in 2014, in the race for a seat on the Santa Clara Valley Water District, Gary Kremen spent about $400K, mostly from his own money, to successfully and narrowly unseat the incumbent, Brian Schmidt, who raised less than a twentieth of that amount.


Facts Matter
Community Center
on Nov 1, 2018 at 11:52 am
Facts Matter, Community Center
on Nov 1, 2018 at 11:52 am
10 people like this

Did others just receive two big, glossy flyers in the mail supporting Cormack from a new group called "Innovation4Everyone"? It appears to be headed by Carl Guardino of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. They look like a new San Jose based Independent Expenditure (IE) group who is supporting pro-development candidates.
One of the flyers say that voting for Cormack will support education in Palo Alto. I'm sure they know that we have a separate school board in Palo alto that is responsible for education so this seems like a simple effort to mislead voters.
I recall that Cormack insisted at a debate that she had a cap of $65,000 on her campaign budget. Since she did not report contributions from this group, so their expenses may be legally independent from her campaign.


Resident
Crescent Park
on Nov 1, 2018 at 2:23 pm
Resident, Crescent Park
on Nov 1, 2018 at 2:23 pm
11 people like this

It's a shame Cormack is stooping so low, letting the independent expenditure committees support her "off the books" and spread misleading info. If this is their integrity level as candidates with everyone watching, you need to wonder what it will be like if they are elected.


Think Big-Spend Big
Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 1, 2018 at 2:28 pm
Think Big-Spend Big, Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 1, 2018 at 2:28 pm
15 people like this

Isn't big-campaign contributions a trademark of all elections? That's how they are won.

Perhaps for the next PACC election there will be $1000/plate dinners to stuff the coffers. Having a major celebrity in attendance will also draw donors...for selfie-ops.


Abitarian
Downtown North
on Nov 3, 2018 at 11:46 am
Abitarian, Downtown North
on Nov 3, 2018 at 11:46 am
9 people like this

The main story on the front page of today's Daily Post reports that two pro-development PACs -- the California Apartment Association and Innovation for Everyone -- have spent $46,836 on campaign mailers for Alison Cormack. Sorry, no link to the article is available at this time.

It is certainly not an accident that these organizations favor Ms. Cormack rather than Mr. DuBois or Mr. Filseth. While she may claim to be neutral concerning development policy, it is clear Ms. Cormack's endorsers and supporters believe her to be extremely pro-growth.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 3, 2018 at 2:53 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Nov 3, 2018 at 2:53 pm
6 people like this

Well she did say in her August 30 Post article that it would be wrong to impede office developers' "freedoms" so at least she's consistent.


Facts Matter
Community Center
on Nov 3, 2018 at 3:45 pm
Facts Matter, Community Center
on Nov 3, 2018 at 3:45 pm
12 people like this

Wolbach got half of his huge, $75,000 reported to date, war chest from outside of Palo Alto. That includes money and endorsements from unions whose future contracts he will be negotiating and approving on the city council. I don't get how he can represent the city and us residents well after accepting union support. The unions in this county have a strong history of expecting allegiance from candidates who take their money.
Now we see in the Post that Cormack has received $45,000 in PAC support from the apartment owners and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group's new PAC.
It looks like Palo Alto politics is being taken over by San Jose based big money, special interest and big development groups. That's not how I want our local government to be run.


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