News

Scharff and Holman wage expensive contest for open-district seat

Councilman loans $120,000 to his contest against colleague

Palo Alto City Councilman Greg Scharff turned heads four years ago when he injected nearly $100,000 into his re-election campaign, a sum that dwarfed the resources of all of his opponents.

Now, with his final term coming to an end, he is trying to reprise this strategy in a different race: his showdown with City Council colleague Karen Holman over a seat on the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District board of directors. While Holman, a well-known conservationist, has the support of the entire district board and various environmentalists, Scharff has opened up a sizeable fundraising lead by loaning $121,500 to his campaign, according to campaign finance documents.

The two former mayors are vying for a Ward 5 seat that is being vacated by Palo Alto resident Nonette Hanko, who helped found the district in 1972. Holman said she was inspired to run for the seat by Hanko herself, during a conversation they had at the dedication of Cooley Landing Center in East Palo Alto.

The ward includes East Palo Alto and portions of Menlo Park, Palo Alto and Stanford. The remaining portions of Palo Alto are in Ward 2, which also includes Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and portions of Stanford University. Another former Palo Alto mayor, Yoriko Kishimoto, currently represents Ward 2 on the district board.

Kishimoto, who contributed $350 to Holman's campaign, is one of the dozens of local residents to support Holman, a list that includes conservationists, neighborhood leaders, former council members and proponents of slow-growth policies. As of Oct. 20, she had received a total of $28,271 in contributions.

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Her biggest contributors include Deborah Wexler ($1,000), a retired Palo Alto resident; Faith Bell, owner of Bell's Books ($999); resident Rita Vrhel ($999) and residents Paula Rantz and Michal Rantz ($950 each).

Almost all other contributors gave checks of $500 or lower. Holman received $500 from planning Commissioner Doria Summa, $500 from patent judge Norm Beamer, $250 from current open-space district board member Larry Hassett, $250 from local psychologist Janet Dafoe, $150 from former Councilwoman Enid Pearson, $125 from former Mayor Emily Renzel, $150 from Canopy Executive Director Catherine Martineau, $100 from planning commission Chair Ed Lauing, $100 from former Mayor Gail Woolley; $200 from Palo Alto Councilman Tom DuBois; $150 from former Vice Mayor Greg Schmid; and $150 from Joe Hirsch, one of the leaders of the citizens group Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning.

Scharff's top donor is technologist Dan Maydan, a Los Altos Hills resident who contributed $2,500 to the campaign. Scharff has also received contributions from Peter Detkin, a consultant ($1,000), Darren Newman, an engineering fellow at Broadcom Corp. ($500) and Elizabeth Wong, the developer behind the controversial project at 429 University Ave.

He also received $100 from economist Steven Levy, co-founder of the citizens group Palo Alto Forward; and $100 from John Kelley, chief operating officer for OnRisk Inc., who often advocates for more housing development.

While Scharff has a substantial fundraising advantage, Holman is touting her endorsements from leading environmentalists, including the entire district board, and her years of involvement in policymaking and conservation issues. This includes her advocacy for ensuring adequate tree trimming, her experience as a planning commissioner in reviewing environmental documents and her experience as a councilwoman in passing budgets.

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Holman told the Weekly that she believes she will bring a fresh outlook and fresh ideas to the board. This includes improving accessibility to the open space preserves for school groups and other organizations in Ward 5. One way to foster that, she said, is by making better use of an existing grant program that allows these groups to commission shuttles for transporting these groups to the open space preserves.

"I'm really looking forward to getting more people who don't generally have that access to have some access to it," Holman said.

Holman noted that the amount of cash being spent on the race is unusual. The most that had been spent in the past, she was told, was about $10,000, she said. One board member who was challenged four years ago had spent about $4,000 on the re-election campaign.

She told the Weekly that she would bring a long-standing commitment and "vision for environmental programs and practices." This includes her participation in the district's recent process to adopt a new vision plan. As part of the process, she said, she had advocated for better connectivity between the bay and some of the more distant preserves.

Scharff also touted his experience in managing budgets, restoring open space preserves and allocating funding for major projects. He serves on the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority governing board, which allocates funds for restoring wetlands, and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, where he chairs the five-member Enforcement Committee.

"I feel like I am very conversant in these issues and understand them well," Scharff said.

As someone who represents the city on various regional boards, including the Association of Bay Area Governments, Scharff said his involvement on the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District would be the logical next step. He also told the Weekly he is undaunted by the board's endorsement of Holman and noted that most of these endorsements came before he had even announced his bid for the board seat.

"Is that how democracy works? Do we have board members choosing the next board member? The fact that the board endorsed her before going through the process and meeting me -- I think that devalues them, frankly," Scharff said.

For complete 2018 election information, check out our voters' guide.

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Scharff and Holman wage expensive contest for open-district seat

Councilman loans $120,000 to his contest against colleague

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Oct 31, 2018, 9:55 am

Palo Alto City Councilman Greg Scharff turned heads four years ago when he injected nearly $100,000 into his re-election campaign, a sum that dwarfed the resources of all of his opponents.

Now, with his final term coming to an end, he is trying to reprise this strategy in a different race: his showdown with City Council colleague Karen Holman over a seat on the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District board of directors. While Holman, a well-known conservationist, has the support of the entire district board and various environmentalists, Scharff has opened up a sizeable fundraising lead by loaning $121,500 to his campaign, according to campaign finance documents.

The two former mayors are vying for a Ward 5 seat that is being vacated by Palo Alto resident Nonette Hanko, who helped found the district in 1972. Holman said she was inspired to run for the seat by Hanko herself, during a conversation they had at the dedication of Cooley Landing Center in East Palo Alto.

The ward includes East Palo Alto and portions of Menlo Park, Palo Alto and Stanford. The remaining portions of Palo Alto are in Ward 2, which also includes Cupertino, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills and portions of Stanford University. Another former Palo Alto mayor, Yoriko Kishimoto, currently represents Ward 2 on the district board.

Kishimoto, who contributed $350 to Holman's campaign, is one of the dozens of local residents to support Holman, a list that includes conservationists, neighborhood leaders, former council members and proponents of slow-growth policies. As of Oct. 20, she had received a total of $28,271 in contributions.

Her biggest contributors include Deborah Wexler ($1,000), a retired Palo Alto resident; Faith Bell, owner of Bell's Books ($999); resident Rita Vrhel ($999) and residents Paula Rantz and Michal Rantz ($950 each).

Almost all other contributors gave checks of $500 or lower. Holman received $500 from planning Commissioner Doria Summa, $500 from patent judge Norm Beamer, $250 from current open-space district board member Larry Hassett, $250 from local psychologist Janet Dafoe, $150 from former Councilwoman Enid Pearson, $125 from former Mayor Emily Renzel, $150 from Canopy Executive Director Catherine Martineau, $100 from planning commission Chair Ed Lauing, $100 from former Mayor Gail Woolley; $200 from Palo Alto Councilman Tom DuBois; $150 from former Vice Mayor Greg Schmid; and $150 from Joe Hirsch, one of the leaders of the citizens group Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning.

Scharff's top donor is technologist Dan Maydan, a Los Altos Hills resident who contributed $2,500 to the campaign. Scharff has also received contributions from Peter Detkin, a consultant ($1,000), Darren Newman, an engineering fellow at Broadcom Corp. ($500) and Elizabeth Wong, the developer behind the controversial project at 429 University Ave.

He also received $100 from economist Steven Levy, co-founder of the citizens group Palo Alto Forward; and $100 from John Kelley, chief operating officer for OnRisk Inc., who often advocates for more housing development.

While Scharff has a substantial fundraising advantage, Holman is touting her endorsements from leading environmentalists, including the entire district board, and her years of involvement in policymaking and conservation issues. This includes her advocacy for ensuring adequate tree trimming, her experience as a planning commissioner in reviewing environmental documents and her experience as a councilwoman in passing budgets.

Holman told the Weekly that she believes she will bring a fresh outlook and fresh ideas to the board. This includes improving accessibility to the open space preserves for school groups and other organizations in Ward 5. One way to foster that, she said, is by making better use of an existing grant program that allows these groups to commission shuttles for transporting these groups to the open space preserves.

"I'm really looking forward to getting more people who don't generally have that access to have some access to it," Holman said.

Holman noted that the amount of cash being spent on the race is unusual. The most that had been spent in the past, she was told, was about $10,000, she said. One board member who was challenged four years ago had spent about $4,000 on the re-election campaign.

She told the Weekly that she would bring a long-standing commitment and "vision for environmental programs and practices." This includes her participation in the district's recent process to adopt a new vision plan. As part of the process, she said, she had advocated for better connectivity between the bay and some of the more distant preserves.

Scharff also touted his experience in managing budgets, restoring open space preserves and allocating funding for major projects. He serves on the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority governing board, which allocates funds for restoring wetlands, and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, where he chairs the five-member Enforcement Committee.

"I feel like I am very conversant in these issues and understand them well," Scharff said.

As someone who represents the city on various regional boards, including the Association of Bay Area Governments, Scharff said his involvement on the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District would be the logical next step. He also told the Weekly he is undaunted by the board's endorsement of Holman and noted that most of these endorsements came before he had even announced his bid for the board seat.

"Is that how democracy works? Do we have board members choosing the next board member? The fact that the board endorsed her before going through the process and meeting me -- I think that devalues them, frankly," Scharff said.

For complete 2018 election information, check out our voters' guide.

Comments

Annette
Registered user
College Terrace
on Oct 31, 2018 at 10:35 am
Annette, College Terrace
Registered user
on Oct 31, 2018 at 10:35 am
72 people like this

Campaign donations are a clue as to which way to vote. In this case, candidate Scharff has loaned himself $121,500 in his peculiar effort to win a seat on the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District board. That's nuts! It is also only 1k less than the median income in this county (per a recent article by Rentcafe in the SVBJ) and more than 20x what others have contributed to his campaign. Even if I didn't know that Karen Holman is endorsed by all the members of that board and that she has been a steward of the environment for decades and that Scharff is aligned with development (particularly commercial) the funding of his campaign reveals much about his candidacy.

We will never see improvement in government as long as candidates can win by buying name recognition. Let's not let that happen here; this seat is important to our open space and it should go to someone who has proven to be a dedicated conservationist.


Annette
Registered user
College Terrace
on Oct 31, 2018 at 10:45 am
Annette, College Terrace
Registered user
on Oct 31, 2018 at 10:45 am
54 people like this

Add on: I marvel at this quote:

"I think that devalues them, frankly," Scharff said.

And yet he wants voters to believe that he should be elected to that board. I think the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space district board will function more genially, and therefore more productively, with Holman.


Vote for Scharff
Community Center
on Oct 31, 2018 at 10:49 am
Vote for Scharff, Community Center
on Oct 31, 2018 at 10:49 am
21 people like this

Scharff has been endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters, which is the premier environmental organization in the Bay Area and the entire Board of the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority. He is smart and effective having served two terms as Palo Alto's Mayor and Vice Mayor. For the last 5 years Scharff has been protecting our Bay as a Commissioner on BCDC and chairing their enforcement division, while also working hard to restore our marshes and wildlife habitat and fighting sea level rise. Scharff is the true environmentalist who actually has accomplished things. Vote for Scharff.


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on Oct 31, 2018 at 10:53 am
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on Oct 31, 2018 at 10:53 am
28 people like this

Besides living here in Palo Alto, I had lived, nearly half my life, in Los Altos Hills. I hope Karen wins because I want the unique character of the region preserved. I wonder what my neighbor Wallace Stegner, the novelist and environmental activist, would say about this campaign.

In a related matter, I think we should open Foothills Park to all comers. As it is, we are elitist and exclusionary.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 31, 2018 at 10:53 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Oct 31, 2018 at 10:53 am
84 people like this

Two questions: 1) Why does he want this seat so badly? 2) Isn't this a conflict of interest between his activities with ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments and its aggressive growth agenda and that of Open Space which presumably favors open space?

One needs only look at Scharff's history of favoring high density, high growth policies in Palo Alto and his rude and uncivil attacks on those who question him to know he's wrong for Open Space.


My Two Cents
Crescent Park
on Oct 31, 2018 at 10:54 am
My Two Cents, Crescent Park
on Oct 31, 2018 at 10:54 am
79 people like this

I've read the statements of both candidates and my personal feeling is that Holman is truly running because she cares about the environment. I don't have a strong sense that Scharff does as much. Perhaps he's pouring so much money into the campaign because it would be a stepping stone to some higher office.

If you don't want to judge these candidates by all their flyers piling up on your doorstep, here's a different way. Not far from me is a terribly ugly new concrete building on Waverley that looms overs everything else around it. It has a four story concrete wall that backs onto the Farmer's Market lot. Scharff approved this building as being "compatible" with the neighborhood, even though it clearly isn't, while Holman voted against it. To me, that truly shows the difference between them. Our neighborhood environment matters as much as any, and a massive building just doesn't fit in at all.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 31, 2018 at 11:04 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Oct 31, 2018 at 11:04 am
70 people like this

Scharff may have been endorsed by [portion removed] the League of Conservation Voters -- whoever they are -- but Holman's been endorsed by the Sierra Club, the entire Mid-Pen board, all the local media companies who've been following the issues closely, local politicians like Eshoo, etc., etc.

[Portion removed.]


Vote to Holman
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2018 at 11:06 am
Vote to Holman, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2018 at 11:06 am
88 people like this

Karen Holman is endorsed by the Sierra Club. When she was mayor, she brought the community together and ran the Council collegially. In contrast, Scharff was very controlling when he was Mayor last year, making or seconding motions while controlling who could speak on the Comprehensive Plan.

Scharff also serves on the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority board as representative from Palo Alto. How well does he steward the resources to address flood protection there? By missing many of the meetings.

The Palo Alto Weekly and the Palo Alto Daily Post both endorse Karen Holman. Holman co-chaired the committee to develop a long range plan for the Open Space District.

Scharff is a real estate lawyer, trying to buy this seat to use as a stepping stone for higher office. Will he run next for Joe Simitian's Supervisor seat or maybe Jerry Hill's State Senate seat?


Scharff Understands Finance
Crescent Park
on Oct 31, 2018 at 11:14 am
Scharff Understands Finance, Crescent Park
on Oct 31, 2018 at 11:14 am
16 people like this

Over the past 9 years Scharff has served Palo Alto well as a fiscal watch dog. He understands city finances and time after time has demonstrated his commitment to fiscal discipline. He has chaired the Finance Committee twice and served on it every year except for once and when he was Mayor. At the moment he and Eric Filseth are working hard to reduce Palo Altos unfunded Pension liability. Last year he and Eric Filseth funded the Transportation Management Association out of parking fees paid primarily by downtown commuters. Holman has served only twice on Finance and each time demonstrated a focus on the weeds and advancing a few pet projects rather than the big issues facing the City. Mid pen has $300 million in bonds to issue. We should all feel better with Scharff overseeing this. Holman has little to no financial experience.


TorreyaMan
Registered user
Palo Verde
on Oct 31, 2018 at 11:25 am
TorreyaMan, Palo Verde
Registered user
on Oct 31, 2018 at 11:25 am
50 people like this

I think they are both excellent candidates but will vote against Scharff due to his obscene injection of so much cash.


I trust Karen Holman. She has my vote..
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 31, 2018 at 11:32 am
I trust Karen Holman. She has my vote.., Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Oct 31, 2018 at 11:32 am
67 people like this

I have worked with Holman and Scharff. I TRUST Karen Holman to protect our open space.


Of bad and good candidates
Registered user
Midtown
on Oct 31, 2018 at 11:34 am
Of bad and good candidates, Midtown
Registered user
on Oct 31, 2018 at 11:34 am
60 people like this

While this story identifies the biggest donors to each campaign, it failed to point out that in Scharff's case, those are the ONLY donors. Besides his personal investment of over $120,000, he's raised only $5800. Holman's funding comes from many small donors and like her donors, her endorsements come from across the ward/community.

Like them, I think an Open Space Board candidate should be focused on representing the community interest and how best to steward our vital open space. Not on buying a stepping stone to higher office. AND I want a Board rep who will work well with their partners on the Board and in the organization - not disparage them from the outset!


Scharff Has My Vote
Midtown
on Oct 31, 2018 at 11:51 am
Scharff Has My Vote, Midtown
on Oct 31, 2018 at 11:51 am
11 people like this

Scharff has actually stepped up over his council service and represented Palo Alto, Santa Clara County and the Bay area on numerous regional Boards. Scharff is well liked by his colleagues. A majority of the City Council Supports Scharff. A majority of his fellow BCDC commissioners have endorsed him as well as the entire Board of the San Francisco Bay Restoration authority. The executive directors of the Coastal Conservancy and Save the Bay have both endorsed him. He was elected by an overwhelming majority as Vice President of the Association of Bay Area Governments by elected City Council members from all Bay Area cities. His colleagues clearly enjoy working with him and respect him. Holman by contrast has served on no regional bodies and has not been very effective at council.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2018 at 11:58 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2018 at 11:58 am
48 people like this

Posted by Scharff Has My Vote

>> [...] He was elected by an overwhelming majority as Vice President of the Association of Bay Area Governments by elected City Council members from all Bay Area cities. His colleagues clearly enjoy working with him and respect him.

You write that as if ABAG is a positive.

Scharff is about office development. Holman is about preservation and conservation. MROSD is about preservation and conservation. It is an obvious choice.


Easy choice
Downtown North
on Oct 31, 2018 at 11:59 am
Easy choice, Downtown North
on Oct 31, 2018 at 11:59 am
77 people like this

You can vote for a known environmental advocate, a trustworthy person with a long history of advocating for open space,
or
you can vote for an aggressive real estate lawyer who never met an office development he didn't like. No wonder Elizabeth Wong supports him she is the developer ruining the corner of University and Kipling with an oversized monster building.


rita vrhel
Crescent Park
on Oct 31, 2018 at 12:32 pm
rita vrhel, Crescent Park
on Oct 31, 2018 at 12:32 pm
64 people like this

I was very surprised to see that Gennady did not include the fact that both the Palo Alto Weekly and the Daily Post have endorsed Ms. Holman in this race.

Gennady also failed to mention that the Sierra Club, the San Mateo Democratic Party, Anna Eschoo, the Dean Club of Silicon Valley and the DEMFEMS of Silicon Valley have also endorsed Karen. As have numerous East Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Palo Alto Mayors, former mayors, council members and community leaders. Please go to: HolmanForOpenSpace.com to review her long and varied list of endorsers.

As reported, Mr. Scharff has self-funded his campaign to the tune of $121,000.00 while Ms. Holman has given her campaign $250.00. Over 219 residents have stepped forward and donated to her campaign. Volunteers have delivered campaign literature to individual homes in all parts of Ward 5, held coffees and emailed their friends regarding Ms. Holman's candidacy. A true grass roots campaign!

I urge you to consider the above when selecting your representative for Ward 5 of the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. There are some things money SHOULD NOT buy. Thank you.

To date, Karen has over 219 individual donors.


Please retire karen
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2018 at 12:40 pm
Please retire karen, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 31, 2018 at 12:40 pm
12 people like this

Scharff is fighting an uphill battle [portion removed.] It has been reported that Hanko [portion removed] told holman that she was retiring and that she wanted Holman to take her seat. [Portion removed.] Obviously the weekly will not do an investigation into this betrayal of the public’s trust given their relationship with holman. [Portion removed.] She has sent 9 years on the council and accomplished nothing. Time for holman to retire from “public service”.


Holman has zero ideas
Community Center
on Oct 31, 2018 at 1:28 pm
Holman has zero ideas, Community Center
on Oct 31, 2018 at 1:28 pm
12 people like this

Holman will bring a "fresh outlook"? [Portion removed.]

Karen Holman is the least productive, least informed [portion removed] council member the city council has had in decades. She asks endless questions, is never able to influence her colleagues, and wastes everyone's time.

On to of that - Karen Holman has wasted city time and money on her "signature design bike bridge" - which went NOWHERE.

Scharff, on the other hand, is an informed and effective lawyer on the council. Do I agree with every one of his votes? No. But he prepares well, synthesizes opinions from the community and his colleagues, and moves the city forward.

Scharff gets my vote.


Highest Bidder
University South
on Oct 31, 2018 at 1:37 pm
Highest Bidder, University South
on Oct 31, 2018 at 1:37 pm
16 people like this

I agree with Scharff's supporters.
This whole democratic election thing seems like waste of valuable taxpayer resources. We need to be more transparent and switch to awarding public offices based a bidding war of who will pay the most for the job. With Scharff spending $120,000, that is what this election is probably headed for anyway, so let's just dispense with the facade of democracy.
Oligarchs know what is best for us and they surely have our best interests at heart. Besides, they must be smarter and wiser than us since they have more money.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 31, 2018 at 1:49 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Oct 31, 2018 at 1:49 pm
37 people like this

I wouldn't be so quick to praise ABAG since it has a history of corruption, failure to allocate collected money to the projects for which funds were raised and embezzlement where one of its execs served a year in prison for buying himself a multi-million dollar Oregon beachfront home.

Web Link

Former ABAG official sentenced in $3.9 million embezzlement

A former finance official with the Association of Bay Area Governments was sentenced in federal court in San Francisco on March 23 to one year and one day in prison for a fraud in which he admitted embezzling nearly $3.9 million in bond funds.

ABAG embezzler Clarke Howatt pleads guilty, returns $3.9 million
Web Link

Web Link ABAG embezzler Clarke Howatt receives prison time

Web Link ABAG embezzlement suspect's luxury shopping spree included $24,000 sculpture


AZR
Old Palo Alto
on Oct 31, 2018 at 2:23 pm
AZR, Old Palo Alto
on Oct 31, 2018 at 2:23 pm
42 people like this

To "please retire Karen": there's no sinister plot to sneak Karen into this position. She's paid her dues. Karen sat on the Mid-Pen ROSD as a Citizen's Advisory Committee and has been actively attending meetings for many years, as well as having a history of environmental advocacy in her past 17 years working for the City of Palo Alto on the PTC and City Council. Therefore and not surprisingly, Karen has the advantage of getting the full support of Ms. Hanko, the retiring and founding trustee, as well as the entire board of MPROSD Trustees, who have never seen her opponent's interest in this position until the deadline to file approached.


margaret heath
College Terrace
on Oct 31, 2018 at 2:38 pm
margaret heath, College Terrace
on Oct 31, 2018 at 2:38 pm
20 people like this

If there is a record that Greg Scharff has substantially supported the mission and work of the MPOSD, given that he is able to spend over $120K cash of his own money for the benefit of his own campaign, it might indicate that he has a genuine interest in the mission and work of the organization he appears to want to buy his way into.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 31, 2018 at 4:39 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Oct 31, 2018 at 4:39 pm
10 people like this

Here are links to both candidates' endorsers from their campaign sites. Holman's list includes individuals cited in the PA Online article; Scharff's does not.

Web Link

Web Link

@Iconic karen, thanks for the insight into campaign framing.


Novelera
Registered user
Midtown
on Oct 31, 2018 at 4:43 pm
Novelera, Midtown
Registered user
on Oct 31, 2018 at 4:43 pm
15 people like this

Wow! Every time an article appears about one of the council candidates and/or the head of the Regional Open Space District, we get a whole ton of negative comments like "Holman has zero ideas", "Please retire Karen", or "Scharff Understands Finance". The comments began with positive comments about Karen Holman, who has been endorsed by the Weekly and the Post.

And then the astroturfing starts.


Who has the fundraising advantage?
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Oct 31, 2018 at 7:13 pm
Who has the fundraising advantage?, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Oct 31, 2018 at 7:13 pm
26 people like this

"Scharff has a substantial fundraising advantage,"

If the reporter means that Greg Scharff is a wealthy man able to spend over $120K of his own money, while Karen Holman only has to spend $250, that is true. But apparently Greg has "raised" less than $6,000 from individuals beside himself. It would seem few individuals have thought highly enough of his candidacy to actually contribute to his campaign.

Meanwhile, Karen Holman has "raised" $28,000 from numerous individuals. In addition, there are many individuals also willing to donate their time rather than having to hire a PR firm for lack of support on the ground.

So who really is the more successful fundraiser?


Fred Balin
Registered user
College Terrace
on Nov 2, 2018 at 2:28 pm
Fred Balin, College Terrace
Registered user
on Nov 2, 2018 at 2:28 pm
21 people like this

The article closes as follows:

He also told the Weekly he is undaunted by the board's endorsement of Holman and noted that most of these endorsements came before he had even announced his bid for the board seat.

"Is that how democracy works? Do we have board members choosing the next board member? The fact that the board endorsed her before going through the process and meeting me -- I think that devalues them, frankly," Scharff said.

----

Candidate Scharff’s put-down of Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (Midpen) board of directors is the most recent example of a style of commentary he sometimes employs when matters may not be going his way, for example, his recent categorization of resident signature gathers for the Reduced Office/R&D Cap Initiative as populists, who do not have good information.

This kind of reaction highlights the contrasts in leadership styles and temperament that the PA Online/Weekly editorial discussed in its endorsement of Holman. Web Link

With regard to his most recent comments above:

- There is no board endorsement, or a process toward that end, for an election to the Midpen board from the seven wards in the district. Each board member, like any other individual, chooses whether or not to endorse a candidate and at a time of her or his choosing.

- In the late '60s, when Greg Scharff was about four, and 20 years prior to his arrival in Palo Alto, resident Nonette Hanko, was a leader in the effort to stop plans for a massive residential development in the foothills. Not only did it succeed, but it moved on to get the city to set aside 1,400 acres as Foothills Park.

- In 1972, she was one of the leaders in the creation of MidPen in Santa Clara County .... by citizen’s initiative; and then a few years later, extending it into San Mateo County, thereby covering almost all the hillsides in the two counties.

- From then until now, Hanko has been the director for Ward 5, and the district has preserved 63,000 acres of public lands and in 2014 received over two-thirds voter approval for a bond measure that can enable them to preserve even more.

Pardon me if am I old fashioned, but I think that history counts for something, is relevant in an endorsement for a position on the board, and should not be demeaned. Candidate Scharff has every right to run, spend money on a campaign, and present his credentials and vision; but I think a touch of humility and gratitude toward those who created the legacy he now seeks to be part of, is also in order.


mauricio
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 2, 2018 at 6:06 pm
mauricio, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Nov 2, 2018 at 6:06 pm
17 people like this

Anyone who is an ABAG member should not be allowed within a 100 miles of the open space district. Scharff has been the most vocal pro mega development advocate in the CC since he joined it. It is truly akin to a fox applying for the position of guarding the hen house.

No, he wasn't like by his colleagues. he was often rude and condescending. He is a real estate attorney and a real estate investor. I have no idea who the league of conservation voters or whatever that group's name is, but Holman is enforced by the Sierra Club, end of story. Scharff is highly unethical. he refused to recuse himself when development in a downtown block in which he he owns an office building came up before the CC.

I can't think of another local politician who should not be allowed anywhere near the open space district more than Scharff, well, the other mega development supporters in the CC, but they are not running for that position, he is.


Vasche LaMou
Green Acres
on Nov 2, 2018 at 6:18 pm
Vasche LaMou, Green Acres
on Nov 2, 2018 at 6:18 pm
3 people like this

Has anybody else noticed that the bird in Scharff's logo is leaving Scharffland? Maybe there's a message there.

Also, do all of those "endorsers" know they're endorsing him?


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 2, 2018 at 8:13 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 2, 2018 at 8:13 pm
Like this comment

Posted by mauricio, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland

>> I have no idea who the league of conservation voters or whatever that group's name is,

They've been around quite a while; here is their website with endorsements.

Web Link

Several of their current endorsements don't make much sense to me.


Ew
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 2, 2018 at 11:52 pm
Ew, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 2, 2018 at 11:52 pm
8 people like this

Anon

"They've been around quite a while; "

They... "league of conservation voters" Web Link

look like an Old or predecessor to "Palo Alto Forward" for whom transportation is bicycles and housing is all about build build without facing reality of non-existing infrastructure.

For a group which has been around "quite awhile" seems to me that they are a fail at what they supposedly care about - conservation? transportation? housing? They are Mother Teresa.

Looks more like a bunch of cronies and surprised that Filseth is on their list and wonder what part of Filseth's "conservation" platform appeals to them, conservation of finances maybe.

Just seems a bit odd to have so many interests.


I’m voting Scharff
Old Palo Alto
on Nov 3, 2018 at 6:16 am
I’m voting Scharff, Old Palo Alto
on Nov 3, 2018 at 6:16 am
6 people like this

Holman doesn’t make sense when I listen to her - financial sense, nor does she seem to be well informed.

As for the money, I don’t fault anyone who puts their own time and energy into running for local office - our community benefits greatly from the contributions our local politicians make. I respect the fact that Mr Scharff is willing to put his own money into this campaign - it shows that he cares immensely about our community.


Ew
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 3, 2018 at 9:14 am
Ew, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 3, 2018 at 9:14 am
10 people like this

Scharff voter,

"I respect the fact that Mr Scharff is willing to put his own money into this campaign - it shows that he cares immensely about our community."

It is generally more respectable if the community also is willing to put money into a campaign instead of a single person or a few buying an election.


stop gap?
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Nov 3, 2018 at 11:12 am
stop gap?, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Nov 3, 2018 at 11:12 am
11 people like this

If Mr. Scharff does not show any interest in or running for higher office in two years we will know he is not just investing over $120,000 of his own money for a seat on this board as a stop gap measure because there are no other open positions he can run for this election cycle.

However, given his apparent resources and the amount of money he is willing to invest in himself to get a seat on this board, it would be important to know he has had a long term interest in supporting and contributing to the MPOSD and/or other local organizations that support their work such as the Peninsula Open Space Trust, the Sempervirens Fund, and/or the Committee for Green Foothills. All three of which work to permanently save and preserve our open spaces in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.




Maya Collins
another community
on Nov 5, 2018 at 11:03 pm
Maya Collins, another community
on Nov 5, 2018 at 11:03 pm
13 people like this

I agree wholeheartedly with 'Ew'. I grew up in Palo Alto and just have to say that I find it concerning that someone who has been an elected representative of the people of Palo Alto for 8 years failed to get 20 people to contribute to him! There is no requirement that his contributions must come residents of his Ward exclusively. I could MAYBE see a first time candidate throwing $40k of their own money since it's hard to go against an incumbent without having an established record. But he's been in office 8 years. People clearly aren't enthusiastic or in awe of his budgeting abilities. This is an attempt to buy an elected position and I hope the Ward residents are informed enough to see whatever BS he purchased with his money.


Maya Collins
another community
on Nov 5, 2018 at 11:05 pm
Maya Collins, another community
on Nov 5, 2018 at 11:05 pm
9 people like this

oops, meant to write *see THROUGH whatever BS he purchased with his money


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