News

After hiatus, Pat Burt looks to return to City Council

Political veteran believes his experience could help address new challenges brought by COVID-19 pandemic

In his second stint as Palo Alto mayor, Pat Burt delivers the "State of the City" address at Mitchell Park Community Center on Feb. 24, 2016. Weekly file photo by Veronica Weber.

Pat Burt, a two-time mayor and one of the leading architects of Palo Alto's land-use policies and infrastructure plans, is eyeing a return to the City Council.

Burt, a City Hall veteran who served on the council between 2008 and 2016, announced Thursday that he will be running for one of the four seats that will open up in November. With his announcement, Burt became the third person to announce their candidacy this week, joining Cari Templeton and Ed Lauing. Attorney Rebecca Eisenberg and City Councilwoman Lydia Kou have previously announced their candidacies.

On a council that often splintered into two factions, Burt didn't fit neatly into either camp. A policy centrist and a political pragmatist, he often took the leading role in crafting policies and cobbled together majorities from members of both camps. He helped shape major land-use policies such as office caps in commercial areas and the city's infrastructure strategy, which relies on hotel tax revenues to pay for major projects.

Burt was part of the council that in 2013 approved a residential project on Maybell Avenue that included 60 units for low-income seniors and 12 single-family homes, an action that voters overturned in a referendum later that year. But while that issue pitted his philosophy against that of Tom DuBois and Eric Filseth (both of whom opposed the project and were elected to council the following year), he found himself siding with their "slow-growth" wing in the subsequent years.

Like DuBois, Filseth and Kou, Burt supported raising the affordable housing impact fees that developers are required to pay when building new projects. After the council raised the fees in late 2016, its decision was overturned in early 2017 by those on the council's more growth-friendly wing, which included Liz Kniss, Mayor Adrian Fine and Councilman Greg Tanaka.

Sponsored
...
Wonders of the water: Meet the tide pool whisperer of the San Mateo coastline

Dive into the aquatic oddities, coastal creatures and other rapidly-disappearing denizens of the Peninsula shores.

...
Sponsored
Wonders of the water: Meet the tide pool whisperer of the San Mateo coastline

Dive into the aquatic oddities, coastal creatures and other rapidly-disappearing denizens of the Peninsula shores.

Burt said he believes that decision was a mistake and argues that without the reversal, the city would have more resources to support affordable housing. He also wants to raise money for affordable housing and transportation through a business license tax, a proposal that he has championed for years as a council member and that he continued to advocate for since he left the council in 2016. The council was preparing to place the business tax on the ballot in November but halted its plans in March when the COVID-19 pandemic prompted an economic downturn.

"I've never stopped caring about the community and the issues," Burt said. "So even when I've been off the council, I've continued to be active in issues, from advocating for funding for affordable housing … and the business license tax, to building consensus on things like grade separations."

Pat Burt, who served on the City Council between 2008 and 2016, is preparing to run for another term this year. Weekly file photo.

Prior to joining the council, Burt had spent nine years on the Planning and Transportation Commission, including three as chair. He also worked on the South of Forest Area plan, a document that guided the redevelopment of a downtown neighborhood that was formerly occupied by the Palo Alto Medical Foundation to create housing, retail and Heritage Park.

"We brought residents and other stakeholders together to work with the City on a redevelopment plan," Burt said in a statement announcing his candidacy. "A project that could have been divisive was made better and was strongly supported, because residents with a range of perspectives worked together in the planning process."

Burt believes the current council would benefit from his experience, particularly given the new challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. He thinks staff should've acted faster on planning for outdoor dining. While the city is now in the process of closing California Avenue for outdoor dining, the closure of University Avenue is still weeks away and staff is still hashing out the details.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Sign up

"If you're in a crisis or an emergency and already behind the curve, trying to get ahead of the curve isn't easy. There's a temptation to say, 'We're all so busy and we can't think ahead,'" Burt said. "I appreciate that that's difficult — but it's wrong."

Burt also believes that COVID-19 and the economic shutdown have created new social needs that the city should do more to address. While the city doesn't have the resources to meet all those needs, Burt said it can play an important role in forging partnerships.

"The city can and should play a leadership role in convening partnerships with both the private sector, the nonprofit sector and other local governments, and collaborate together to identify what the needs are, and fill those gaps," Burt said.

He also believes the city hasn't been acting fast enough when it comes to addressing outstanding issues in the Police Department, an issue that has risen in prominence in Palo Alto and elsewhere across the nation in the aftermath of the May 25 killing on George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis.

He disagreed with the council's decision last December to reduce the scope of the independent police auditor's contract so that internal conflicts within the department are no longer audited. Burt said he didn't find staff's arguments for the policy change persuasive and cited the vote as an example of a broader pattern within the council.

"There seems to be a pattern, in the last couple of years at least, of excessive deference of the council to staff on what are actual policy issues, which are the purview of council, and too little oversight of some of the aspects of what staff is doing," Burt said.

Burt said he favors the policies for police reform in the "8 Can't Wait" campaign, which include a ban on strangleholds, comprehensive reporting of use of force and intervention by an officer if he or she sees another officer engage in unreasonable use of force. Burt believes the department hasn't always followed some of these guidelines.

"I'm very concerned that in the last year or two we're seeing several incidents of what appear to be use of excessive force by the police and unwillingness by the department and the city manager and the city attorney to release the footage from the cameras, which now, under the state law, is supposed to be done unless there's an explicitly defined reason about an ongoing investigation," Burt said. "So I think we appear to have slipped back in some ways — and that we never went far enough."

He also said he believes the council was too deferential to staff in recent budget hearings, where members voted to cut about $40 million in expenses. Burt, who helped shape the council's infrastructure plan in 2014, said the city should have deferred some of the items in the plan until the budget picture improves.

While at least four council members expressed a similar view, the council ultimately went along with a staff proposal that reduces infrastructure spending but does not defer any of the big-ticket items on the council's 2014 plan, which includes the public safety building, a bike bridge over the U.S. Highway 101 and a rebuilt fire station at Mitchell Park.

"In all likelihood, we're going to see, like we've seen in every economic downturn, that the construction industry goes from inflated costs to real bargains," Burt said. "So I expect, within six months to a year, we will see the cost of projects go down.

"There's been a characterization that deferring by a year or two means we won't build them. I think we'll get more bang for the buck and will be able to do more."

Craving a new voice in Peninsula dining?

Sign up for the Peninsula Foodist newsletter.

Sign up now

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

...
Sponsored
Wonders of the water: Meet the tide pool whisperer of the San Mateo coastline

Dive into the aquatic oddities, coastal creatures and other rapidly-disappearing denizens of the Peninsula shores.

After hiatus, Pat Burt looks to return to City Council

Political veteran believes his experience could help address new challenges brought by COVID-19 pandemic

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, Jun 11, 2020, 1:27 pm

Pat Burt, a two-time mayor and one of the leading architects of Palo Alto's land-use policies and infrastructure plans, is eyeing a return to the City Council.

Burt, a City Hall veteran who served on the council between 2008 and 2016, announced Thursday that he will be running for one of the four seats that will open up in November. With his announcement, Burt became the third person to announce their candidacy this week, joining Cari Templeton and Ed Lauing. Attorney Rebecca Eisenberg and City Councilwoman Lydia Kou have previously announced their candidacies.

On a council that often splintered into two factions, Burt didn't fit neatly into either camp. A policy centrist and a political pragmatist, he often took the leading role in crafting policies and cobbled together majorities from members of both camps. He helped shape major land-use policies such as office caps in commercial areas and the city's infrastructure strategy, which relies on hotel tax revenues to pay for major projects.

Burt was part of the council that in 2013 approved a residential project on Maybell Avenue that included 60 units for low-income seniors and 12 single-family homes, an action that voters overturned in a referendum later that year. But while that issue pitted his philosophy against that of Tom DuBois and Eric Filseth (both of whom opposed the project and were elected to council the following year), he found himself siding with their "slow-growth" wing in the subsequent years.

Like DuBois, Filseth and Kou, Burt supported raising the affordable housing impact fees that developers are required to pay when building new projects. After the council raised the fees in late 2016, its decision was overturned in early 2017 by those on the council's more growth-friendly wing, which included Liz Kniss, Mayor Adrian Fine and Councilman Greg Tanaka.

Burt said he believes that decision was a mistake and argues that without the reversal, the city would have more resources to support affordable housing. He also wants to raise money for affordable housing and transportation through a business license tax, a proposal that he has championed for years as a council member and that he continued to advocate for since he left the council in 2016. The council was preparing to place the business tax on the ballot in November but halted its plans in March when the COVID-19 pandemic prompted an economic downturn.

"I've never stopped caring about the community and the issues," Burt said. "So even when I've been off the council, I've continued to be active in issues, from advocating for funding for affordable housing … and the business license tax, to building consensus on things like grade separations."

Prior to joining the council, Burt had spent nine years on the Planning and Transportation Commission, including three as chair. He also worked on the South of Forest Area plan, a document that guided the redevelopment of a downtown neighborhood that was formerly occupied by the Palo Alto Medical Foundation to create housing, retail and Heritage Park.

"We brought residents and other stakeholders together to work with the City on a redevelopment plan," Burt said in a statement announcing his candidacy. "A project that could have been divisive was made better and was strongly supported, because residents with a range of perspectives worked together in the planning process."

Burt believes the current council would benefit from his experience, particularly given the new challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. He thinks staff should've acted faster on planning for outdoor dining. While the city is now in the process of closing California Avenue for outdoor dining, the closure of University Avenue is still weeks away and staff is still hashing out the details.

"If you're in a crisis or an emergency and already behind the curve, trying to get ahead of the curve isn't easy. There's a temptation to say, 'We're all so busy and we can't think ahead,'" Burt said. "I appreciate that that's difficult — but it's wrong."

Burt also believes that COVID-19 and the economic shutdown have created new social needs that the city should do more to address. While the city doesn't have the resources to meet all those needs, Burt said it can play an important role in forging partnerships.

"The city can and should play a leadership role in convening partnerships with both the private sector, the nonprofit sector and other local governments, and collaborate together to identify what the needs are, and fill those gaps," Burt said.

He also believes the city hasn't been acting fast enough when it comes to addressing outstanding issues in the Police Department, an issue that has risen in prominence in Palo Alto and elsewhere across the nation in the aftermath of the May 25 killing on George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis.

He disagreed with the council's decision last December to reduce the scope of the independent police auditor's contract so that internal conflicts within the department are no longer audited. Burt said he didn't find staff's arguments for the policy change persuasive and cited the vote as an example of a broader pattern within the council.

"There seems to be a pattern, in the last couple of years at least, of excessive deference of the council to staff on what are actual policy issues, which are the purview of council, and too little oversight of some of the aspects of what staff is doing," Burt said.

Burt said he favors the policies for police reform in the "8 Can't Wait" campaign, which include a ban on strangleholds, comprehensive reporting of use of force and intervention by an officer if he or she sees another officer engage in unreasonable use of force. Burt believes the department hasn't always followed some of these guidelines.

"I'm very concerned that in the last year or two we're seeing several incidents of what appear to be use of excessive force by the police and unwillingness by the department and the city manager and the city attorney to release the footage from the cameras, which now, under the state law, is supposed to be done unless there's an explicitly defined reason about an ongoing investigation," Burt said. "So I think we appear to have slipped back in some ways — and that we never went far enough."

He also said he believes the council was too deferential to staff in recent budget hearings, where members voted to cut about $40 million in expenses. Burt, who helped shape the council's infrastructure plan in 2014, said the city should have deferred some of the items in the plan until the budget picture improves.

While at least four council members expressed a similar view, the council ultimately went along with a staff proposal that reduces infrastructure spending but does not defer any of the big-ticket items on the council's 2014 plan, which includes the public safety building, a bike bridge over the U.S. Highway 101 and a rebuilt fire station at Mitchell Park.

"In all likelihood, we're going to see, like we've seen in every economic downturn, that the construction industry goes from inflated costs to real bargains," Burt said. "So I expect, within six months to a year, we will see the cost of projects go down.

"There's been a characterization that deferring by a year or two means we won't build them. I think we'll get more bang for the buck and will be able to do more."

Comments

Big Thinker
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2020 at 1:37 pm
Big Thinker, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2020 at 1:37 pm
52 people like this

Pat Burt is back! Our city will be better off for it come this January when he returns to city council.

We need a big thinker like him who knows this town inside and out, how it works and doesn’t, what community is and isn’t, has good values and sticks up for them. He has a big view of things, snapping single issues together like legos into a cohesive whole that often makes it easier and more efficient to deal with together for a better outcome.

He is good for residents and the best in our upcoming struggle in these economic times.


Great news! Pat Burt gets my vote.
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2020 at 1:42 pm
Great news! Pat Burt gets my vote., Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2020 at 1:42 pm
50 people like this

This is great news! Pat Burt always was a representative who listened well and is persuaded by facts, not ideology. I appreciate his values, supporting affordable housing and thoughtfully balancing growth. He is a very strong fiscal manager. We NEED that now.

Pat Burt has my vote.


Palo Alto resident
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 11, 2020 at 1:43 pm
Palo Alto resident, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 11, 2020 at 1:43 pm
48 people like this

So happy to see Burt stepping up. His is exactly the experience and smarts we are gong to need to steer the city into a recovery from this pandemic.


Good news!
South of Midtown
on Jun 11, 2020 at 1:46 pm
Good news!, South of Midtown
on Jun 11, 2020 at 1:46 pm
49 people like this

Pat has proven he can get things done in the city. Perhaps even more importantly, he has spent recent years really getting out in the community, listening, advising, and helping to build broad coalitions on key issues - coalitions that defy the" us vs. them" divisive mentality of recent years.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2020 at 1:46 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2020 at 1:46 pm
36 people like this

Best news so far.


Resident
Greenmeadow
on Jun 11, 2020 at 1:54 pm
Resident, Greenmeadow
on Jun 11, 2020 at 1:54 pm
31 people like this

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Go Pat Go
The Greenhouse
on Jun 11, 2020 at 1:55 pm
Go Pat Go, The Greenhouse
on Jun 11, 2020 at 1:55 pm
37 people like this

Pat is a decisive leader who has been missed on Council. He speaks his mind and argues his position backed up with facts.


Finally, someone with ACTUAL experience
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 11, 2020 at 1:56 pm
Finally, someone with ACTUAL experience, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 11, 2020 at 1:56 pm
38 people like this

Pat Burt can get things done! He manages to both get colleagues on council to work towards consensus and push Staff to deliver. He's exactly what we need to get us out of this fiscal crisis.

Even the incumbent council members don't have the experience that Pat has with city government- plus he's a tech founder who has tangible financial experience in the real world.

Pat's engaging and he doesn't sit back and let staff lead him by the nose.

Our Mayor claims to be pro-housing and then voted against the fees that would pay for housing.

Pat has actually worked to make affordable housing a reality. If you care about actually getting things done - then vote for Pat Burt.


He can help!
Palo Verde
on Jun 11, 2020 at 1:59 pm
He can help!, Palo Verde
on Jun 11, 2020 at 1:59 pm
33 people like this

Mr. Burt’s past fiscal leadership on council plus his deep dive on the business tax would be a big help as we adjust to this COVID 19 era - both in sensibly guiding expense reductions and figuring out how to rebuild revenues.

And to the extent grade separations remain a city priority, he will be a huge asset on the dais as he’s been actively involved and informed on the very complex decisions ahead.


He keeps coming back
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2020 at 1:59 pm
He keeps coming back, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2020 at 1:59 pm
14 people like this

LOL. I noticed that recently pat had been posting quite a bit on TSF. I speculated that pat was trying to rehabilitate his image, given his 8 years of non accomplishments on the council, and was prepping for another run fur the council. [Portion removed.]


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2020 at 2:10 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2020 at 2:10 pm
5 people like this

Kou, Burt, Lauing, Eisenberg, Templeton. That's already more than enough to choose from. Let's just close it now and choose.


Jack
Mountain View
on Jun 11, 2020 at 2:22 pm
Jack, Mountain View
on Jun 11, 2020 at 2:22 pm
29 people like this

We are now facing crises with Covid 19, a flailing economy, racism, possible reallocating of police funding, determining how schools will re-engage and addressing the many mental health issues facing our youth. We therefore need a strong and Experienced Leader who will look at the data, listen to his community and stand up for the rights of all!


Strong financial manager with DEEP experience in transportation and planning.
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2020 at 2:36 pm
Strong financial manager with DEEP experience in transportation and planning., Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2020 at 2:36 pm
29 people like this

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


NeilsonBuchanan
Downtown North
on Jun 11, 2020 at 2:44 pm
NeilsonBuchanan, Downtown North
on Jun 11, 2020 at 2:44 pm
16 people like this

This "early surge" of council candidates is great. Voters will have a good chance to open their minds to pressing issues and best, practical solutions. I think the business tax is overdue and will be more evident as budget realities come home to roost in the next 6 months. Affordable housing is very difficult to finance. Pat, however, has a good grasp of what affordable housing really is. He can differentiate the urge to embrace more luxury housing and office space.

My main concern about Pat and all other candidates is that they are showing the normal political practice of over-promising what can be done. Nobody, for example, can have total confidence that the FY20/21 budgets are realistic. Palo Alto has enormous capacity to excel but the Council and Staff have the unfortunate tendency to make knee jerk moves without professional analysis. The next Council in 2021 must not continue analysis paralysis and constant revision of priorities each January. Important "stuff" always has multi-year timelines.

The next two years will require a sober council mastering fiscal and political basics. Pat is clearly up to the challenges.


South Palo Alto resident
Green Acres
on Jun 11, 2020 at 3:14 pm
South Palo Alto resident, Green Acres
on Jun 11, 2020 at 3:14 pm
30 people like this

I am absolutely thrilled that Pat Burt is running again. Here is a person who is smart, hard working, and who brings with him a ton of experience. He has in depth knowledge of transportation issues; he is skillful in budget management; he is creative at problem solving.....and he listens....not only to his fellow council members but also his constituents. We will all benefit from his dedication and expertise. He’s got my vote!


anon
Evergreen Park
on Jun 11, 2020 at 3:32 pm
anon, Evergreen Park
on Jun 11, 2020 at 3:32 pm
21 people like this

Pat is tried and true
Will do his job without personal self interest

Even if you don’t like every one of his decisions in the past he can think and can think past untruths and he is not corrupt


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on Jun 11, 2020 at 3:42 pm
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on Jun 11, 2020 at 3:42 pm
Like this comment

[Post removed.]


Pat Burt loves Palo Alto
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2020 at 3:44 pm
Pat Burt loves Palo Alto, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2020 at 3:44 pm
20 people like this

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Mark Weiss
Downtown North

on Jun 11, 2020 at 3:44 pm
Name hidden, Downtown North

on Jun 11, 2020 at 3:44 pm

Due to violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are only visible to registered users who are logged in. Use the links at the top of the page to Register or Login.


Name hidden
Downtown North

on Jun 11, 2020 at 3:55 pm
Name hidden, Downtown North

on Jun 11, 2020 at 3:55 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Przemek Gardias
Community Center
on Jun 11, 2020 at 4:33 pm
Przemek Gardias, Community Center
on Jun 11, 2020 at 4:33 pm
19 people like this

Very welcomed news. Congratulations!


Anonymous
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 11, 2020 at 5:39 pm
Anonymous, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 11, 2020 at 5:39 pm
19 people like this

I support Pat Burt, never met him personally but have viewed city council meetungs on cable and read many news reports including him. He appears to be a calm and intelligent civic leader. I will,vote for him. I have agreed many times with his views and points.


Citizen PA
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2020 at 5:48 pm
Citizen PA, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2020 at 5:48 pm
19 people like this

"Burt was part of the council that in 2013 approved a residential project on Maybell Avenue that included 60 units for low-income seniors and 12 single-family homes, an action that voters overturned in a referendum later that year. But while that issue pitted his philosophy against that of Tom DuBois and Eric Filseth (both of whom opposed the project "

Please correct this characterization which is once again wrong. The council ordinance that was disputed was the upzoning of the property, largely for the sake of the 60% of the property that was for-profit, not the project itself. A for-profit developer wanted to put 3-story houses up on tiny lots -- go look at the massive homes going up there now and imagine them being 50% taller and twice as many on the Maybell side.

The neighbors objected to the neighborhood zoning and thus the whole dominant land use of the area being so drastically changed, especially for a majority for-profit project. The city was basically selling the zoning of the whole neighborhood, in a way that they didn't do in the Alma street project downtown (that one complied with zoning). There was never any rejection of an affordable housing project there or any vote on the project. The vote was on changing the zoning of a residential area. Residents asked (in council meetings) for a working group to ensure the affordable housing got built there, some of the same residents who rebuffed a development on the Terman school site 20 years earlier that saved the school and got affordable housing built next to it.

The ordinance, the vote and the referendum were never on the "project" and there was never any prohibition on affordable housing being built there. The city attorney wrote the ballot in such a biased way, a lot of people never understood this, and this erroneous reporting of it continues to enforce that error.

If the project had been conceived as only affordable housing from the getgo and had only the affordable homes with less density and impact, there would have been much broader support and collaboration to make it happen, especially if the subsequent council had managed to get larger impact fees for it. A survey in the neighborhood prior to the referendum found this was the preferred developed use over even single-family homes. (The preferred use overall was to preserve the orchard as much-needed park space, which the parks and rec report acknowledges is needed on this side of town.)

The city attorney mischaracterized the referendum on the ballot in a way that constituted advocacy (there was an article in the Weekly about the letter from the neighborhood about that). That sort of advocacy by city staff regarding referenda and initiatives is why the City of San Francisco changed their election code so that they decide ballot language through an impartial process, not by the city attorney.

The Weekly should not continue to make that error in reporting on Maybell, because among other things, it furthers misunderstandings and divides in ways that hurt the ability of advocates to come together and do at Maybell what had been done at Terman, and makes low-income residents feel there is animosity that isn't really there. There has been broad support for low-income projects since this, and there would have been broad support for low-income housing in that same spot if residents' concerns and energy had been given the same respect as downtown residents'.

The mistake does make me wonder if
1) Pat Burt has learned to have any more concern/respect for residents on the South side of town than before, and
2) if the pandemic has at all changed people's lack of concern for the drive to seriously densify where it's totally inappropriate and even unsafe.

I really wish people would stop mischaracterizing Maybell. For residents, it was about overdevelopment. For a long time, affordable housing has been built as a minor side effect of development. But now, overdevelopment is ratcheting up costs and displacing more low-income people than are ever going to be helped by this kind of overdevelopment. People of color are being pushed out en masse from these new densifying tech economies, which aren't even wise as the pandemic has shown so suddenly. Had neighbors not been able to rebuff the overdevelopment, there is no way that Buena Vista would have been saved, it would have gone the way of the President Hotel with residents evicted. Because residents were able to overturn upzoning in the same part of town, which no one believed they could do before they did, the large developer in contract with the owner at Buena Vista pulled out right after the referendum result, and no other big developers bit despite the owner trying. Residents realized this was at stake with the upzoning at Maybell, too, and although they took a lot of abuse in the paper, many worked harder on the referendum knowing if they lost, that BV would be next to impossible to save with the developers knowing they could upzone there, too.

Continuing to mischaracterize the subject of the vote does a disservice to residents, and to the members of the council who have been doing far more to actually try to help affordable housing (Filseth, Dubois) than those who have used a lot of loud rhetoric but when push comes to shove, vote against reasonable low-income interests because they're really just trying to push density for large tech companies (Fine, Kniss). Unfortunately, my memories of Burt have been more the latter. A lot of us remember how Greg Scharff transformed to a residentialist just long enough to get voted and then he turned into the worst developer shill again. Pat Burt, if you want us to vote for you again, please show us in a way that we can trust that that will not happen to you, too.


common sense
Midtown
on Jun 11, 2020 at 5:58 pm
common sense, Midtown
on Jun 11, 2020 at 5:58 pm
10 people like this

Pat Burt is intelligent and opinionated; but he's the type of person who thinks they are always right, and doesn't listen very well. His support for residents has always been half hearted

So far the candidates who have declared doesn't impress, and it's going to be voting for the candidates who will do the least damage.


Here is Pat Burt's web site link.
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2020 at 6:15 pm
Here is Pat Burt's web site link., Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2020 at 6:15 pm
17 people like this

I, for one, am supporting Pat. I have worked with him on many projects over more than two decades. He listens well and takes time to study all sides of issues. I respect his thought process and values. I think he will be a great addition to City Council. Welcome back, former Mayor Pat Burt!

[Portion removed.]


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 11, 2020 at 6:25 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 11, 2020 at 6:25 pm
17 people like this

"Intelligent and Opinionated." Sounds good to me.

I'm grateful for his comments,during the recent complicated and contentious budget process> He was responsive to questions, dug for substantive answers and provided links to key information.

That type of fact-based responsiveness beats sloganeering and fairy tales in my book.

@Citizen PA cites important background information that too often gets lost or drowned out by well-funded campaigns, A somewhat recent example was density advocate Former Commissioner Downing's claim that PA didn't want tech startups. Her "misquote" was repeatedly endlessly in the local and then national press and no amount of logic, denials or facts mattered.


ALB
College Terrace
on Jun 11, 2020 at 7:55 pm
ALB, College Terrace
on Jun 11, 2020 at 7:55 pm
24 people like this

Pat Burt is passionate about our town. He is sharp and possesses a keen sense of humor. He has always done his homework on the issues before the council and planning commission. As we are living through turbulent times mainly the pandemic, the threat of losing our democracy, and facilitating CHANGE that must occur regarding the reform of our police department -- I want Pat Burt to contribute his clear-minded focus on these issues. He is disciplined and focussed. Thank you, Pat, for running for council.


wrong side of the train tracks resident
Escondido School
on Jun 11, 2020 at 11:22 pm
wrong side of the train tracks resident, Escondido School
on Jun 11, 2020 at 11:22 pm
20 people like this

Pat's in-depth knowledge of grade separation issues for motor vehicles, pedestrians AND bicycles will be essential in getting to yes on a solution that will work for Palo Alto. His ability to think longer term, big picture on budget matters as well as keep track of key details and hold senior staff accountable for implementing council designated priorities will be a great tonic for what has ailed our city in the last few years. He's made great use of his "sabbatical" and brings the thoughtful, non-dogmatic approach to getting to yes on knotty problems that we really need.


Aged Aquarius
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2020 at 3:09 am
Aged Aquarius, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2020 at 3:09 am
31 people like this

Hard not to think of Pat Burt and Yuriko Kishimoto as the spiritual leaders of Palo Alto's hippy bicycle cult.

No matter how rational he may sound at times, lingering slightly below the surface is a monomaniacal obsession with bicycles. Every decision Pat made as a councilman and mayor was calculated to move Palo Alto one incremental step, no matter how small, closer to bicycle utopia.

I am afraid, that if it was within his power, Pat Burt would give the whole city to stack-n-pack real-estate developers in exchange for a couple of bike paths.

Talks a good game, but cannot be trusted not to relapse into obsessive "bicycle think" if reelected.


Bicycle Mafia
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 12, 2020 at 3:43 am
Bicycle Mafia, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 12, 2020 at 3:43 am
33 people like this

Pat Burt is one of the ring leaders of the Bicycle Mafia.


Resident
Downtown North
on Jun 12, 2020 at 6:13 am
Resident, Downtown North
on Jun 12, 2020 at 6:13 am
33 people like this

The more I read about Pat Burt, the more I support him. I'm so relieved Liz Kniss is termed out. She has not voted to protect community or youth programs or items on the agenda that would increase quality of life for Palo Alto residents, including families with young or growing children. The same can be said about Adrian Fine.

Really hope Pat Burt gets elected. Burt clearly has the depth of experience that Mayor Adrian Fine lacks. And the last curfew gaffe is something Mayor Adrian Fine still has not taken responsibility for but passed the buck onto City Manager Shakida, and claimed the umbrella excuse of "inexperience" as his shield. We don't need anymore interns working in City Council. We want wisdom and experience at the helm not inexperience and lack of responsibility.

Welcome former Mayor Pat Burt! Welcome to the race and we look forward to having this city run with some level of pragmatic, wise, experienced and measured manner. The lack of transparency in firing the city auditor while spending is out of control and now we are in deficit speaks to how things run under Mayor Adrian Fine and City Manager Ed Shakida at the helm.

From the 10 day curfew Shakida and Fine instituted, with Liz Kniss' full support in "feeling protected and safe" just speaks to how ridiculous the city is currently managed.

The inability to provide a nuanced budget but cutting deeply into Community programs, all done by Shakida and with Mayor Adiran Fine's approval and LIz Kniss' support. again speaks to how they are completely disconnected from the residents of Palo Alto.

Here is to hoping LIz Kniss doesn't return in 4 years. Her actions and votes speak for how she doesn't care 2 hoots for families, children or our youth. Same goes for Fine. This city desperately needs a change of leadership.. or in this case... actual leadership where there was one lacking.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2020 at 7:50 am
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2020 at 7:50 am
16 people like this

I think we are going to have to understand that the "perfect" residential supporting candidate is not going to come along. We will be stuck with those who are willing to run. I thank the individuals who are willing to put themselves in the public scrutiny for the next couple of months and show willing to be on our council.

However, when it comes to the various names we have to look at who is most likely to do what is necessary to keep Palo Alto's residents forefront. We need to update infrastructure and improve efficient traffic flow. We do not need to spend more money that we don't have on bicycle improvements that impede motorized vehicles. Saying that, Pat Burt is much more likely to be on the side of putting residents' needs first. If he runs with that type of platform he will do well.


common sense
Midtown
on Jun 12, 2020 at 8:06 am
common sense, Midtown
on Jun 12, 2020 at 8:06 am
35 people like this

Has anyone noticed the California Fair Political Practices Commission never gave a ruling on Liz Kniss's alleged violation of the campaign finance laws in 2016?

If you recall, Kniss led the public to believe she wasn't taking money from property developers. Then after the last reporting period before the election, they deposited checks from developers. They claimed that they had not opened the envelopes until after the reporting due date.

I think in this election cycle we should all be aware of the tricks of a candidate either loaning themselves campaign funds, and delaying their campaign donations reporting to hide their donors until after the election.

Any candidate who "loans" their campaign money, may be hiding donors who make contributions after the election to pay off the loan.

The other trick that Kniss did was to not open donation envelopes until after the reporting due date. We need to be suspicious of campaigns that spend alot of money on advertising, campaign signs, etc.

I hope the local news media can be more vigilant about these practices for this election.


Anon
Evergreen Park
on Jun 12, 2020 at 9:01 am
Anon, Evergreen Park
on Jun 12, 2020 at 9:01 am
23 people like this

Actually Kniss complaints are taking so long for Fppc to investigate because there were so many. Nine complaints in total some duplicates so seven unique complaints of violation


DC Comics Suicide Squad
Community Center
on Jun 12, 2020 at 11:13 am
DC Comics Suicide Squad, Community Center
on Jun 12, 2020 at 11:13 am
3 people like this

[Post removed. Please address issues and not personalities.]


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 12, 2020 at 11:43 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 12, 2020 at 11:43 am
16 people like this

Pat Burt, please clarify your position on govt spending for more bike paths and "traffic calming" "improvements". This is a deciding factor for many,


Oh, for goodness sake...
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2020 at 11:48 am
Oh, for goodness sake..., Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2020 at 11:48 am
7 people like this

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]



Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2020 at 11:54 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2020 at 11:54 am
12 people like this

Posted by DC Comics Suicide Squad, a resident of Community Center

>> What sort of Council would this leave us? Can you really imagine the interactions between Dubois, Filseth, Kou, Eisenberg, Lauing, Burt and Cormack as being productive towards meeting the challenges of the next decade (2020-2030)?

One of the major challenges we have been facing is the massive number of people commuting to the office here. I don't know if that group will be able to do anything about it, but, I would take my chances over the office-space-approving Fine and Tanaka being in the mix. We need to start by stopping making it worse. Stop increasing the number of office jobs here.

Another challenge is pandemic vulnerability. Overcrowded offices have left us vulnerable to pandemics like COVID-19. We need to work towards improved workplace safety in Palo Alto, and that means corrected ventilation and workspace requirements. NOT increased crowding in higher-density offices.

Finally, we don't need more high-end anything here. Affordable office space for local service providers, affordable retail space, affordable restaurant space, affordable housing. Yes, I know we can't get everything at once, but, we can start by stopping making it worse.


ALB
College Terrace
on Jun 12, 2020 at 12:43 pm
ALB, College Terrace
on Jun 12, 2020 at 12:43 pm
15 people like this

The platform is Kou, Burt, Stone and Lauing who will bring decent values and experience to the council.


Citizen PA
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2020 at 1:42 pm
Citizen PA, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2020 at 1:42 pm
25 people like this

"Has anyone noticed the California Fair Political Practices Commission never gave a ruling on Liz Kniss's alleged violation of the campaign finance laws in 2016?
If you recall, Kniss led the public to believe she wasn't taking money from property developers. Then after the last reporting period before the election, they deposited checks from developers. They claimed that they had not opened the envelopes until after the reporting due date."

The FPPC is fairly toothless, the community is responsible for taking action. FPPC did determined that Adrian Fine "misled" the public in that regard. The thing that bothers me is that they rendered a decision on Fine fairly quickly without considering the possibility that Fine, Kniss, and Wolbach may have colluded to all hide their developer donations. They falsely claimed their opponents were compromised by developer contributions while hiding them themselves.


Pat Burt has my vote.
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2020 at 2:37 pm
Pat Burt has my vote., Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2020 at 2:37 pm
2 people like this

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Civic Minded
Gunn High School
on Jun 12, 2020 at 3:29 pm
Civic Minded, Gunn High School
on Jun 12, 2020 at 3:29 pm
11 people like this

Glad to see that Pat Burt is running for Council. He will have my vote and my donation to support his campaign.

I have been impressed with Pat Burt's service to Palo Alto from his early days on the Planning and Transportation Commission and continuing with his two terms on City Council. He dedicates the time and energy to learn about issues which result in informed decisions. He can and does dive deep into very technical issues like high speed rail, finance, traffic, public safety and land use to come up with solutions to complex issues. We need an experienced, dedicated civic mind on Council to lead our city through the budget and public safety challenges in our future. I vote for Burt.


Aged Aquarius
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2020 at 3:50 pm
Aged Aquarius, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2020 at 3:50 pm
11 people like this

@ALB,

Karen Holman is the hidden hand behind Stone's brief political career. Not sure that is a good thing given Karen Holman's polarizing personality. Also, Stone made some unfortunate choices a couple of years ago that precipitated a career change that would make it impossible for him to be elected.

Not a good time for Stone to jump back into politics. He needs to take more time to rehabilitate his image before reentering politics.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2020 at 4:27 pm
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2020 at 4:27 pm
2 people like this

Posted by Aged Aquarius, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> Stone made some unfortunate choices a couple of years ago that precipitated a career change that would make it impossible for him to be elected.

You have a link pointing to what you are talking about?


Bicycle Mafia
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 12, 2020 at 7:27 pm
Bicycle Mafia, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 12, 2020 at 7:27 pm
10 people like this

As Donald Trump said; "Whether you love me, or hate me, you gotta vote for me!"

This pretty much sums up Pat Burt in the upcoming election.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 12, 2020 at 7:55 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 12, 2020 at 7:55 pm
3 people like this

On whose watch did we lose the Barnes & Noble book store downtown? It was always busy - had coffee and treats. That was the whole reason for going downtown - then everyone out for a stroll for lunch or dinner. So now everyone is in the B&N up in San Mateo County. Someone has no idea as to how you build business in a city. We need to eliminate people who ae working against the "total picture" for the city.


Bad news
Charleston Meadows
on Jun 13, 2020 at 12:57 am
Bad news, Charleston Meadows
on Jun 13, 2020 at 12:57 am
6 people like this

Hope he does not win. We have enough problems.


Pseudo - growther
Downtown North
on Jun 13, 2020 at 2:47 pm
Pseudo - growther, Downtown North
on Jun 13, 2020 at 2:47 pm
10 people like this

He's better than some of the mega - growthers running but he still likes to build things. Not the candidate to keep us safe by slowing development and high rise buildings.

But still if it comes down to him vs. Fine or Tanaka or Templeton, he is the better choice. Not quite as extreme a shill for developers as the others.


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 13, 2020 at 3:15 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 13, 2020 at 3:15 pm
19 people like this

I'm so tired of hearing car-light fairy tales when all they do is allow developers to pack in more and more people. I'm also horrified to keep reaching about all the affordable housing like The President Hotel and the rent-controlled apartment complexes being eliminated and replaced by pricey hotels and market-rate (ie unaffordable) complexes.

What are the YIMBY's doing to stop big tech from adding LITERALLY millions of square feet of office space? Yes, commuters are over-running us BECAUSE of the growth of offices. Look at the stance of YIMBY's like Adrian Fine when presented with the ballot initiative position to rein in office growth downtown that qualified for the ballot? He and his developer-friendly buddies got it side-lined about 2 years ago so it never came to a vote.

And they keep shifting the costs of this office growth to US in the form of paying the commuters' commuting expenses, parking permits etc. while staunchly opposing ANY type of business tax that might alienate their donors.

ENOUGH.


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 13, 2020 at 3:17 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 13, 2020 at 3:17 pm
4 people like this

"I'm also horrified to keep reaching about all the affordable housing like"

Sorry. That should be READING, not reaching.


Balance
Fairmeadow
on Jun 13, 2020 at 5:44 pm
Balance, Fairmeadow
on Jun 13, 2020 at 5:44 pm
17 people like this

@ Psuedo- growther

My understanding is that Pat Burt supports less office growth and more housing, especially for low and moderate income residents. If that’s the case, it’s what my family and most of my neighbors think we need.


Citizen PA
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 7:29 am
Citizen PA, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 7:29 am
6 people like this

As a residents over developers voter, I actually prefer Tanaka to Burt. Tanaka seems to think about things from a fiscal stewardship standpoint and is not afraid of disagreeing with colleagues for well reasoned future-minded grounds. I need to know why I should trust Burt isn’t going to revert back to density advocate.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 11:16 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2020 at 11:16 am
Like this comment

Posted by Citizen PA, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> As a residents over developers voter,

Who are your selections at this point? There are multiple slots open.


Citizen PA
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2020 at 12:19 am
Citizen PA, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2020 at 12:19 am
7 people like this

I am definitely voting for Lydia Kou. Beyond that, I am going to consider the field carefully and look at how the vote will finally create a council majority for residents. We really need ranked choice voting so people can use all their votes without essentially voting against their favorites. It will come down to the makeup of the field and number of seats. I hope we get good candidates and not a situation like last time in the school board in which Melissa Baten Castell got to extend her reign into eternity because there were so many spots and so few candidates. Given past elections, the results were a real referendum on how unpopular she had become despite winning. Again, it comes down to the field and number of seats.


Finally, someone with ACTUAL experience
Old Palo Alto
on Jun 19, 2020 at 9:01 am
Finally, someone with ACTUAL experience, Old Palo Alto
on Jun 19, 2020 at 9:01 am
7 people like this

@CitizenPA
It’s worth looking at Tanaka’s record on supporting office development. He and Fine have been the strongest advocates on the council for unrestrained office growth.
He opposed the annual city office cap, he repealed the downtown office cap, opposed the citywide cap, and he and Fine tried to push through increasing the Comp Plan commercial development limit by an extra 50%.
Burt opposed each of these while he does support moderate housing growth. I’m OK with that approach.


Stephen
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 19, 2020 at 9:05 am
Stephen, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 19, 2020 at 9:05 am
4 people like this

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows: I think you got your bookstore chains confused. The bookstore located in the Varsity was Borders. It closed because the Borders chain went bankrupt and out of business. This had nothing to do with the city council. It is kind of sad that what is ostensibly a college town now has only 2 bookstores - thank you Bell's and Books Inc. for hanging in there!


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2020 at 11:38 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2020 at 11:38 am
7 people like this

Posted by Citizen PA, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

>> As a residents over developers voter, I actually prefer Tanaka to Burt. Tanaka seems to think about things from a fiscal stewardship standpoint and is not afraid of disagreeing with colleagues for well reasoned future-minded grounds.

Tanaka talks a good line as far as budget spreadsheets go, but, I've never heard him "just say no" to more office space. I'm only voting for candidates who actually will stand up and vote to stop new office space projects. (Which, these days, always come wrapped in convenient fig leaf garlands to add deniability.)

And, let's have some office space anti-crowding standards, with space, ventilation, etc requirements to prevent the spread of viruses. Let people work from home or satellite offices close to home.


Online Name
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 19, 2020 at 12:16 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 19, 2020 at 12:16 pm
16 people like this

Maybe Mr. Burt -- and all the other candidates -- could comment on Mickie Winkler's Guest Opinion and Diana Diamond's blog. Both make important points and I'd really like substantive, specific responses.


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on Jul 6, 2020 at 6:03 am
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on Jul 6, 2020 at 6:03 am
Like this comment

Inherent in social change would be electing candidates who have not served 16 years starting twenty of so years ago.
Move on.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 6, 2020 at 10:56 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 6, 2020 at 10:56 am
4 people like this

Posted by Mark Weiss, a resident of Downtown North

>> Inherent in social change would be electing candidates who have not served 16 years starting twenty of so years ago. Move on.

I'm going to vote for the best available candidates, regardless of whether or not they have been in public life a long term. Look at how Adrian Fine handled the curfew issue. One of many missteps. I get it that you don't like a Pat Burt candidacy. OK, so, who are you going to vote for and why?


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 7, 2020 at 9:51 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 7, 2020 at 9:51 am
Like this comment

T was under the impression that it was a Barnes and Noble. Nevertheless - I go up to RWC to the B&N located in Sequoia Station and do all of my shopping up there - Safeway, CVS, Sees Candies, etc. City planners need to realize that if someone is coming downtown then it needs to provide the obvious foot traffic that keeps people walking and coming back each week.


Burt's record
Community Center
on Jul 20, 2020 at 3:26 pm
Burt's record, Community Center
on Jul 20, 2020 at 3:26 pm
2 people like this

>Even if you don’t like every one of his decisions in the past he can think and can think past untruths and he is not corrupt <
Wrong! He has a business-man mentality and votes to enhance his personal interests. Like,

Why did he strongly support giving the Chamber of Commerce *Below Market Rate Office Space* in the oversized,under-parked development at Alma corner Lytton (335-355 Alma). I wonder if Judy Kleinberg, (CEO of the CC) will be supporting him.
Among other IMPORTANT votes:
* Voted in favor of real estate lawyer Greg Scharff to be Mayor
* Voted in favor of Michael Alcheck for Planning Commissioner.

These are all *crucial votes* with long term consequences.
Burt can't be trusted as he pretends to be pro-resident now but votes for business/developers when on Council.


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on Jul 22, 2020 at 8:10 am
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on Jul 22, 2020 at 8:10 am
2 people like this

ABB, Anybody but Burt.
Pat is BRM in a BLM era.
Take a look at people who serve with Pat either on planning or counsel and do not endorse him and ask yourself why better yet ask them why.
I think it’s because he was abusive and disrespectful.. O his peers. Of his supposed constituents: never heard of us.
Let’s review the tape. I’ll donate $100 to Rotary for every time Pat cuts off Greg Schmid.


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

Post a comment

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