News

Incumbent builds strong financial lead in crowded Palo Alto City Council race

Filings show Greg Tanaka has more than three times as much in reported contributions as closest challenger

With two months to go until Election Day, Palo Alto City Councilman Greg Tanaka has amassed an overwhelming financial advantage over the rest of the field, having reported more than three times as much in contributions than the second-highest recipient in the 10-person race, according to financial disclosures.

Palo Alto City Councilman Greg Tanaka is holding a strong lead in cash raised over the rest of the 10-candidate field for council. Courtesy Greg Tanaka.

Tanaka, whose reelection campaign reported $14,669 in contributions as of June 30, has received at least $50,000 since then, including a $10,000 check from developer Roxy Rapp; $5,000 each from developers Charles "Chop" Keenan, John McNellis and Brad Ehikian; and $1,000 from electric car maker Tesla, which is headquartered in Palo Alto. Just this week, Tanaka's campaign reported receiving $2,500 from the California Real Estate Political Action Committee and $5,000 from Zachary Bogue, managing partner at Data Collective Venture Capital, which has offices in Palo Alto and San Francisco.

To date, Tanaka has received more than $70,000 in contributions, as well as increased scrutiny about some of his earliest campaign supporters. Some of the funding from developers came in the beginning of the year, well before he established his reelection committee in July, triggering a complaint against him with the Fair Political Practice Commission (FPPC). The anonymous complaint claims that he violated a state law that prohibits candidates to spend on their reelection efforts before forming a committee.

Candidates are allowed, however, to receive money after they win the election. Tanaka called the complaint baseless and said that the money he had received at the beginning of the year was contributed toward his 2016 campaign and used to support his ongoing council work, not his reelection effort. The FPPC, which functions as a state watchdog for election spending, had not determined as of Thursday, Sept. 3, whether to launch an investigation against Tanaka.

Meanwhile, Councilwoman Lydia Kou, the only other incumbent in the race, reported $20,013 in contributions, which includes $14,213 that she received prior to June 30 and $5,800 that she has reported since then.

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In contrast to Tanaka, whose list of major financial supporters is dominated by CEOs, developers and investors (he received a $10,000 from Richard Karp, an investor with the company Tictrain), Kou received most of her contributions from local residents, including vocal critics of recent and proposed developments. She also gathered contributions from residents who have been at the forefront of grassroots efforts to fight airplane noise and oppose new wireless communications facilities.

The vast majority of her contributions are for $500 or less, though $1,000 from Jeanne Fleming, whose group United Neighbors has been advocating for more stringent development standards for wireless equipment. She also received $500 from Councilman Eric Filseth and $200 from Vice Mayor Tom DuBois.

Kou also received $1,000 checks from Joe Hirsch, a member of the group Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning, which supports slow-growth land-use policies, and from local residents Lazlo Tokes and Rita Vrhel. Leaders of the group PNQLNow (Preserve Neighborhood Quality of Life Now), which has been leading the fight against Castilleja School's proposed campus reconstruction, also have donated to Kou's campaign, with Mary Silvester contributing $500 and Andie Reed giving $200.

The two incumbents are facing eight challengers for four open seats. The two others are of Councilwoman Liz Kniss, who is terming out at the end of this year, and Mayor Adrian Fine, who is not running for reelection. Of the eight, Planning and Transportation Commission Chair Cari Templeton and social justice advocate Raven Malone are enjoying an early edge when it comes to cash raised.

Templeton's campaign has reported $11,030 in contributions, with a solid portion of these funds coming from some of Palo Alto's most passionate housing advocates. Supporters of Templeton's campaign include Kelsey Banes, regional executive director of YIMBY Action (who contributed $100 to Templeton's campaign); Elaine Uang, co-founder of Palo Alto Forward (who gave $250) and John Kelley, co-founder of OnRisk ($250). She also received $500 contributions from Kniss, Councilwoman Alison Cormack, former Mayor Bern Beecham and Palo Alto Unified School District board member Jennifer DiBrienza.

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Malone, an engineer and an activist in the Black Lives Matter movement, reported $4,575 in contributions in an Aug. 16 filing and then reported additional contributions in subsequent filings that totaled about $5,000.

Her financial backers include Carolyn Blatman, a nonprofit organizer; engineer Nadia Ahlborg; Leah Cowan, government relations manager at Sutter Health; and Reginald Williams, systems administrator at U.S. Geological Survey. Each of them contributed $1,000 to Malone's campaign.

Former Mayor Pat Burt also reported close to $9,000 in contributions, including $7,820 that he received before June 30 and another $1,000 that he reported on Aug. 27 (candidates do not have to report contributions that are less than $1,000 and that were made after June 30). The total includes $2,000 that Burt contributed to his own campaign and $1,000 that he received from Darrell Benatar, executive chairman at San Francisco-based UserTesting.

Burt, a tech CEO who served on the council between 2008 and 2016, also received contributions from bike advocate Penny Ellson ($400); downtown resident Neilson Buchanan ($250); Sheri Furman, co-chair of Palo Alto Neighborhoods ($250) and Craig Lewis, executive director of Clean Coalition ($500).

Trailing them in the financial standings, according to the campaign disclosures, are former Human Relations Commission member Steven Lee, attorney Rebecca Eisenberg and Planning and Transportation Commission member Ed Lauing.

Lee, an attorney who has criticized the council for not doing enough to address homelessness, gender discrimination and social issues, reported $5,000 in major contributions, including $1,000 contributions from employees at Oracle, Facebook and the U.S. Navy.

Lee said that he has received $34,365 in contributions, though most of them don't have to be disclosed until later this month because they are less than $1,000. The list of contributors, which he provided to this news organization, includes software engineers, community activists, housing advocates and elected officials, including school board members DiBrienza, who contributed $500, Shounak Dharap, who contributed $263, and Ken Dauber, who contributed $350. His list of supporters also includes Human Relations Commission member Patti Regehr, who gave $100 to Lee's campaign, and former Councilwoman Gail Price, president of Palo Alto Forward, who gave $50.

Eisenberg, a vociferous critic of the council's recent budget decisions and land-use strategies, reported $4,960 in contributions, including $3,960 that she received before June 30 and $1,000 that she received in August from James Ausman, technical project manager at Twilio. Her financial forms list small contributions from attorneys, software professionals and business executives from both within Palo Alto and from other cities and states. Her top contributors include Kristen Lee, a resident of Pebble Beach and local resident S.V. Vasudevan.

Eisenberg told this news organization that her campaign has raised almost $15,000, though only one donation reached the $1,000 threshold for disclosure. She said she has received more than 110 donations, with the average donation totaling about $120.

Lauing, an executive recruiter and veteran of two local commissions, reported $2,883 in contributions. His campaign documents indicate that he received $1,883 prior to June 30, a total that includes $500 from Filseth, $250 from former Mayor Greg Scharff and $300 from Suzanne Keehn, a member of Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning. He reported an additional $1,000 in late August from investor Yogen Dalal.

Lauing is one of three candidates that has received Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning's endorsement, along with Kou and teacher Greer Stone. Stone, a former member of the Human Relations Commission, and Ajit Varma, a Crescent Park resident who was the last to declare his candidacy, both joined the race after June 30 and had not filed any financial disclosure forms, which suggests that they had not received any contributions greater than $1,000.

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Incumbent builds strong financial lead in crowded Palo Alto City Council race

Filings show Greg Tanaka has more than three times as much in reported contributions as closest challenger

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, Sep 3, 2020, 9:42 am

With two months to go until Election Day, Palo Alto City Councilman Greg Tanaka has amassed an overwhelming financial advantage over the rest of the field, having reported more than three times as much in contributions than the second-highest recipient in the 10-person race, according to financial disclosures.

Tanaka, whose reelection campaign reported $14,669 in contributions as of June 30, has received at least $50,000 since then, including a $10,000 check from developer Roxy Rapp; $5,000 each from developers Charles "Chop" Keenan, John McNellis and Brad Ehikian; and $1,000 from electric car maker Tesla, which is headquartered in Palo Alto. Just this week, Tanaka's campaign reported receiving $2,500 from the California Real Estate Political Action Committee and $5,000 from Zachary Bogue, managing partner at Data Collective Venture Capital, which has offices in Palo Alto and San Francisco.

To date, Tanaka has received more than $70,000 in contributions, as well as increased scrutiny about some of his earliest campaign supporters. Some of the funding from developers came in the beginning of the year, well before he established his reelection committee in July, triggering a complaint against him with the Fair Political Practice Commission (FPPC). The anonymous complaint claims that he violated a state law that prohibits candidates to spend on their reelection efforts before forming a committee.

Candidates are allowed, however, to receive money after they win the election. Tanaka called the complaint baseless and said that the money he had received at the beginning of the year was contributed toward his 2016 campaign and used to support his ongoing council work, not his reelection effort. The FPPC, which functions as a state watchdog for election spending, had not determined as of Thursday, Sept. 3, whether to launch an investigation against Tanaka.

Meanwhile, Councilwoman Lydia Kou, the only other incumbent in the race, reported $20,013 in contributions, which includes $14,213 that she received prior to June 30 and $5,800 that she has reported since then.

In contrast to Tanaka, whose list of major financial supporters is dominated by CEOs, developers and investors (he received a $10,000 from Richard Karp, an investor with the company Tictrain), Kou received most of her contributions from local residents, including vocal critics of recent and proposed developments. She also gathered contributions from residents who have been at the forefront of grassroots efforts to fight airplane noise and oppose new wireless communications facilities.

The vast majority of her contributions are for $500 or less, though $1,000 from Jeanne Fleming, whose group United Neighbors has been advocating for more stringent development standards for wireless equipment. She also received $500 from Councilman Eric Filseth and $200 from Vice Mayor Tom DuBois.

Kou also received $1,000 checks from Joe Hirsch, a member of the group Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning, which supports slow-growth land-use policies, and from local residents Lazlo Tokes and Rita Vrhel. Leaders of the group PNQLNow (Preserve Neighborhood Quality of Life Now), which has been leading the fight against Castilleja School's proposed campus reconstruction, also have donated to Kou's campaign, with Mary Silvester contributing $500 and Andie Reed giving $200.

The two incumbents are facing eight challengers for four open seats. The two others are of Councilwoman Liz Kniss, who is terming out at the end of this year, and Mayor Adrian Fine, who is not running for reelection. Of the eight, Planning and Transportation Commission Chair Cari Templeton and social justice advocate Raven Malone are enjoying an early edge when it comes to cash raised.

Templeton's campaign has reported $11,030 in contributions, with a solid portion of these funds coming from some of Palo Alto's most passionate housing advocates. Supporters of Templeton's campaign include Kelsey Banes, regional executive director of YIMBY Action (who contributed $100 to Templeton's campaign); Elaine Uang, co-founder of Palo Alto Forward (who gave $250) and John Kelley, co-founder of OnRisk ($250). She also received $500 contributions from Kniss, Councilwoman Alison Cormack, former Mayor Bern Beecham and Palo Alto Unified School District board member Jennifer DiBrienza.

Malone, an engineer and an activist in the Black Lives Matter movement, reported $4,575 in contributions in an Aug. 16 filing and then reported additional contributions in subsequent filings that totaled about $5,000.

Her financial backers include Carolyn Blatman, a nonprofit organizer; engineer Nadia Ahlborg; Leah Cowan, government relations manager at Sutter Health; and Reginald Williams, systems administrator at U.S. Geological Survey. Each of them contributed $1,000 to Malone's campaign.

Former Mayor Pat Burt also reported close to $9,000 in contributions, including $7,820 that he received before June 30 and another $1,000 that he reported on Aug. 27 (candidates do not have to report contributions that are less than $1,000 and that were made after June 30). The total includes $2,000 that Burt contributed to his own campaign and $1,000 that he received from Darrell Benatar, executive chairman at San Francisco-based UserTesting.

Burt, a tech CEO who served on the council between 2008 and 2016, also received contributions from bike advocate Penny Ellson ($400); downtown resident Neilson Buchanan ($250); Sheri Furman, co-chair of Palo Alto Neighborhoods ($250) and Craig Lewis, executive director of Clean Coalition ($500).

Trailing them in the financial standings, according to the campaign disclosures, are former Human Relations Commission member Steven Lee, attorney Rebecca Eisenberg and Planning and Transportation Commission member Ed Lauing.

Lee, an attorney who has criticized the council for not doing enough to address homelessness, gender discrimination and social issues, reported $5,000 in major contributions, including $1,000 contributions from employees at Oracle, Facebook and the U.S. Navy.

Lee said that he has received $34,365 in contributions, though most of them don't have to be disclosed until later this month because they are less than $1,000. The list of contributors, which he provided to this news organization, includes software engineers, community activists, housing advocates and elected officials, including school board members DiBrienza, who contributed $500, Shounak Dharap, who contributed $263, and Ken Dauber, who contributed $350. His list of supporters also includes Human Relations Commission member Patti Regehr, who gave $100 to Lee's campaign, and former Councilwoman Gail Price, president of Palo Alto Forward, who gave $50.

Eisenberg, a vociferous critic of the council's recent budget decisions and land-use strategies, reported $4,960 in contributions, including $3,960 that she received before June 30 and $1,000 that she received in August from James Ausman, technical project manager at Twilio. Her financial forms list small contributions from attorneys, software professionals and business executives from both within Palo Alto and from other cities and states. Her top contributors include Kristen Lee, a resident of Pebble Beach and local resident S.V. Vasudevan.

Eisenberg told this news organization that her campaign has raised almost $15,000, though only one donation reached the $1,000 threshold for disclosure. She said she has received more than 110 donations, with the average donation totaling about $120.

Lauing, an executive recruiter and veteran of two local commissions, reported $2,883 in contributions. His campaign documents indicate that he received $1,883 prior to June 30, a total that includes $500 from Filseth, $250 from former Mayor Greg Scharff and $300 from Suzanne Keehn, a member of Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning. He reported an additional $1,000 in late August from investor Yogen Dalal.

Lauing is one of three candidates that has received Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning's endorsement, along with Kou and teacher Greer Stone. Stone, a former member of the Human Relations Commission, and Ajit Varma, a Crescent Park resident who was the last to declare his candidacy, both joined the race after June 30 and had not filed any financial disclosure forms, which suggests that they had not received any contributions greater than $1,000.

Comments

Educator
Registered user
Midtown
on Sep 3, 2020 at 10:29 am
Educator, Midtown
Registered user
on Sep 3, 2020 at 10:29 am
21 people like this

I took a 15 minute phone survey about the city council election. It asked a lot of general questions about who I support and how I feel, but also asked specific questions about Greg Tanaka and the man who founded WhatsApp, Ajit Varma. I wondered if one of them was funding the survey. It was very strange.


plantfruittrees
Registered user
Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Sep 3, 2020 at 10:51 am
plantfruittrees, Greendell/Walnut Grove
Registered user
on Sep 3, 2020 at 10:51 am
72 people like this

[Portion removed.]

The number one theme of this coming election is whether we will vote to uphold the rule of law or not and whether the ethics and honor of our leaders matters.

Tanaka fails that test.


Follow the money
Registered user
Midtown
on Sep 3, 2020 at 11:14 am
Follow the money, Midtown
Registered user
on Sep 3, 2020 at 11:14 am
61 people like this

So based on mega donor reports (the only new info added since June) 2 out of 4 top money getters so far are primarily funded by special interests: developers/real estate (Tanaka) and YIMBYS (Templeton). Guess their primary goal on council will be new development - more offices, denser housing.

When regular filings come out later this month, it’ll be interesting to see who regular Palo Altans are pitching in for. From the June reports, so far Eisenberg has more out of town donors than locals. Templeton was about even, though most of her elected and appointed endorsers are from other cities.


William X
Registered user
Charleston Gardens
on Sep 3, 2020 at 11:32 am
William X, Charleston Gardens
Registered user
on Sep 3, 2020 at 11:32 am
9 people like this

Lot of ignorance in PlantFruitTrees above. The article itself says that these campaign contributions are legal.

Did you just see the name Tanaka and decide to disparage him?
Read the article and what it has to say.


Own Fiscal Watchdog
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 3, 2020 at 11:44 am
Own Fiscal Watchdog , Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Sep 3, 2020 at 11:44 am
68 people like this

Greg Tanaka's an archtypical politician attracting big developer, Real Estate, commerical, and now PAC donors who want a city councilmember they have confidence will vote their interests for another 4 years. They certainly found their man.

I never bought into the so-called "fiscal watchdog" thing about Tanaka. He is an ineffectual outlier on the council and his remonstrations about money usually never amount to a hill of beans, let alone a hill of savings for our city.

But I now understand why fiscal watchdog is applied to him - he maybe's got a dog. He watches the dog snuffling out donor money like truffles out of a French forest. His own personal fiscal watch dog. Got it.


plantfruittrees
Registered user
Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Sep 3, 2020 at 11:47 am
plantfruittrees, Greendell/Walnut Grove
Registered user
on Sep 3, 2020 at 11:47 am
6 people like this

@WilliamX, may I refer you to a previous article in the Weekly on the subject.


Anonymous
Registered user
Fairmeadow
on Sep 3, 2020 at 12:16 pm
Anonymous, Fairmeadow
Registered user
on Sep 3, 2020 at 12:16 pm
1 person likes this

I have noticed that the anti-development crowd has always been the loudest in the comment threads. But during my several-times-per-week walks through the neighborhoods, I see plenty of yard signs supporting Tanaka (or, for that matter, Castilleja). So perhaps Palo Alto is not populated solely by NIMBYs.


Novelera
Registered user
Midtown
on Sep 3, 2020 at 12:17 pm
Novelera, Midtown
Registered user
on Sep 3, 2020 at 12:17 pm
60 people like this

I've lived here since 1982. I cannot recall City Council races attracting campaign contributions like this. It feels like the massive amounts of money spent on congressional races and, of course, the presidential campaign, have somehow trickled down to Palo Alto. Tanaka's list of donors doesn't pass the smell test to me. It's the same pattern when, say, the New York Times reveals the donations by the National Rifle Association to certain candidates who are, what a surprise, big 2nd Amendment fans. And I don't think Tanaka, should he win re-election, would be biting the hand that feeds him; i.e., commercial developers.


Resident
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 3, 2020 at 12:25 pm
Resident, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Sep 3, 2020 at 12:25 pm
8 people like this

This is such a weirdly late article - all the small dollar donor information available dates back to the end of June (which, btw, the Weekly did not cover at the time). The actual numbers will be available on September 24th. This article just gives free publicity to people with rich friends who can give thousands upon thousands of dollars to a City Council race, and forces candidates with more small dollar donors to cough up their numbers early for no reason.

And personally, as someone who will be voting for Rebecca Eisenberg in November, I dislike how the article characterizes her out of town donations. Not everyone has the luxury of growing up in Palo Alto and living here for a long time - she grew up in Wisconsin, so of course her donors wouldn't necessarily all be from this area. I, personally, will be waiting for the September 24th deadline so I can get a more accurate picture of how much money is being raised. Go Rebecca!


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 3, 2020 at 12:33 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Sep 3, 2020 at 12:33 pm
32 people like this

Anonymous writes, " have noticed that the anti-development crowd has always been the loudest in the comment threads."

That's because pro-development politicians like Adrian Fine have explicitly refused to comment here and to answer questions posed here by voters. You may have noticed which elected reps and candidates ARE commenting here and answering questions and which ones don't.


Own Fiscal Watchdog
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 3, 2020 at 12:43 pm
Own Fiscal Watchdog , Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Sep 3, 2020 at 12:43 pm
41 people like this

Resident - I think you are unclear on the concept. The importance of most donations
reported to date (this includes both large and small donors) as coming from Palo Alto residents is that we are the voters. City Council members are our elected representatives - representing our interests here in town. If someone lives in NYC or SF, they can't vote and they are not to be represented by our city councilmembers. So that's why it's notable and relevant that so many of Eisenberg's and Templeton's donors are out of towners. No one is being mean to them - this is a legitimate issue.

Also - to Anonymous - People are rightly offended and distrubed by Tanaka's conduct - the amount of fundraising, from whom, and given the pile of evidence (prior article in the Weekly) that most of it was likely garnered counter to CA election laws. To dismiss his conduct as the complaints of supposed nimbyism (why are you name calling, by the way?) is really incredible.


Kathy
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Sep 3, 2020 at 1:03 pm
Kathy, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Sep 3, 2020 at 1:03 pm
2 people like this

According to the PA Daily Post:Web Link “He (Tanaka) has been the swing vote on the council at times because he doesn’t fall clearly into the pro-housing or slow growth camps”


Palo Alto Resident
Registered user
Downtown North
on Sep 3, 2020 at 1:45 pm
Palo Alto Resident, Downtown North
Registered user
on Sep 3, 2020 at 1:45 pm
35 people like this

Swing vote? On office development, Tanaka has been part of the solid pro-growth bloc - very consistent with his donations from big developers.

PA Weekly: "Palo Alto scraps downtown office cap" 2/12/19 Web Link

Once again, the decision was made by a razor-thin margin, with Councilwoman Alison Cormack joining the council's pro-growth members, Liz Kniss, Adrian Fine and Greg Tanaka, in supporting the repeal of the downtown cap.

PA Weekly:"Palo Alto lowers the cap on office development" 7/30/18 Web Link

By a 5-4 vote, with Mayor Liz Kniss and council members Adrian Fine, Greg Scharff and Greg Tanaka dissenting, the council moved to revise a key policy in its recently adopted Comprehensive Plan in accordance with an initiative measure launched by the citizens group Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning.


Gale Johnson
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 3, 2020 at 2:51 pm
Gale Johnson, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Sep 3, 2020 at 2:51 pm
45 people like this

Take your time, read up on the candidates, and then, if there is a Zoomed forum for them to speak and answer questions, be sure and attend online. I have my early picks in mind but will watch and wait. I will sort out the YIMBY's and they will not get my vote. I will sort out the pro growthers, who seem to have big business interests and developers of offices in mind more than the residents of our city. I will sort out the ADU crowd, whose only answer to solving the housing problem is for homeowners to build cottages in their backyards and rent them out at BMR rates.

I hope there are enough smart people left in town to vote intelligently, and for the good of our citizens.


Steve Dabrowski
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 3, 2020 at 3:34 pm
Steve Dabrowski, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Sep 3, 2020 at 3:34 pm
18 people like this

Gale Johnson says it all!


SloGroPls
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2020 at 4:56 pm
SloGroPls, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Sep 3, 2020 at 4:56 pm
36 people like this

Based on big contributors those of you who favor slower growth, think traffic is a problem and want to protect neighborhoods should NOT vote for Tanaka.


Resident
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 3, 2020 at 5:03 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Sep 3, 2020 at 5:03 pm
13 people like this

> You may have noticed which elected reps and candidates ARE commenting here and answering questions and which ones don't.

The YIMBYs are all on Twitter and don't show the rhetorical restraint of this board


Look at the voting record
Registered user
Downtown North
on Sep 3, 2020 at 6:01 pm
Look at the voting record, Downtown North
Registered user
on Sep 3, 2020 at 6:01 pm
8 people like this

I've been following the council closely for years. If you look at the actual voting record, of all the candidates, Tanaka is a true moderate. He basically votes for what the community wants or doesn't want in regards to development, independent of donations. I like him because he is a good listener.

He voted for:
* Wilton Court- Housing for developmentally disabled
* Buena Vista Mobile home park
* The Maybell housing project that was actually built

He voted against:
* Housing on Cubberley (only vote against) but instead wanted it on the adjacent parcel
* Lytton Gateway (old Survey Monkey building) saying it was under parked. I especially appreciate this because this is my neighborhood
* Original Maybell project that was referendum because the neighborhood wasn't properly engaged

However, what I really like about him is his fiscal responsibility. Personally, I think this is going to matter more during this recession than development issues which is why I support him even though I am a residentialist.


Enjoy PA
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2020 at 6:35 pm
Enjoy PA, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Sep 3, 2020 at 6:35 pm
38 people like this

Follow the money. If you want more development, more traffic vote for Tanaka


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 3, 2020 at 8:08 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Sep 3, 2020 at 8:08 pm
19 people like this

"> You may have noticed which elected reps and candidates ARE commenting here and answering questions and which ones don't.

The YIMBYs are all on Twitter and don't show the rhetorical restraint of this board"

And participating in PAID Palo Alto Forward events for which charge sizable fees are charged. Of course those fees don't count as official campaign contributions.


stephen levy
Registered user
University South
on Sep 3, 2020 at 8:31 pm
stephen levy, University South
Registered user
on Sep 3, 2020 at 8:31 pm
7 people like this

Online Name is misinformed.

Palo Alto Forward does not charge for our webinars. Take a look at the events on our website and attend our events for free. We have a webinar on housing next week and an information event on eviction issues after that.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 3, 2020 at 11:29 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Sep 3, 2020 at 11:29 pm
25 people like this

@Stephen Levy, maybe that's true now for the virtual events and webinars now but many of us have been copied on PAF's mailings in the past where they had sliding scales of quite hefty fees for in-person events starting at $20 and going into the hundreds of dollars.


stephen levy
Registered user
University South
on Sep 4, 2020 at 12:20 pm
stephen levy, University South
Registered user
on Sep 4, 2020 at 12:20 pm
3 people like this

Online Name,

You have confused voluntary membership donation levels with our free events.

You do not have to be a member to join events. They are free to all.


Gale Johnson
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 4, 2020 at 12:51 pm
Gale Johnson, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Sep 4, 2020 at 12:51 pm
40 people like this

Let's hear PAF's response and latest proposals/comments/solutions on how to make our lives, the lives of us common ordinary hard working citizens, better. And what is their position now on Palantir, their love child organization that got so much attention, and that gave them so much campaign support (money and voices) a few years ago? It's not good to have three groups working against the needs and wants of the residents and citizens of our city...PAF, big businesses (destroying our family owned small businesses), and developers only favoring the more profitable projects for office space, in lieu of building housing for all income levels.


Pat Burt
Registered user
Community Center
on Sep 5, 2020 at 9:47 am
Pat Burt, Community Center
Registered user
on Sep 5, 2020 at 9:47 am
34 people like this

To update the article, my campaign has received $23,930 to date from 114 individual donors. Over 91% of those contributions have come from Palo Alto residents.


No on Tanaka
Registered user
Community Center
on Sep 5, 2020 at 10:30 am
No on Tanaka, Community Center
Registered user
on Sep 5, 2020 at 10:30 am
47 people like this

The article mentions that Tanaka accepted a large donation from Zachary Bogue. Bogue is married to Marissa Mayer who purchased the former funeral home property on Middlefield and Addison. They just bought Tanaka's vote on whatever they want to do with that property.

To those of you who think that Tanaka is a good listener: he records his meetings with residents and uses them in his advertising on Facebook. Talking to Tanaka does nothing other than provide content for his advertising. Other council members meet and talk with residents and don't brag about it. No on Tanaka, please!


Anne
Registered user
Midtown
on Sep 5, 2020 at 12:53 pm
Anne, Midtown
Registered user
on Sep 5, 2020 at 12:53 pm
41 people like this

A few years ago Tanaka mistook me for a supporter of his based on a comment I made, and invited me to one of his weekend constituent phone chats. I accepted, called him out on a number of things and we ended up getting into an argument. This guy doesn't listen to his constituents. He is a pro business, pro development candidate which of course is confirmed by who is supporting him, developers. Thank you to "No on Tanaka" who has revealed Tanaka's unethical recording of constituents during chats. Now I'm even more creeped out by Tanaka!


stephen levy
Registered user
University South
on Sep 5, 2020 at 1:17 pm
stephen levy, University South
Registered user
on Sep 5, 2020 at 1:17 pm
10 people like this

Gale,

If you want to learn about Palo Alto Forward, come to our events (now online and free to all, read our letters to council and PTC and visit our website.

As to Palantir your comments have no basis in fact. I have processed every donation to PAF since its incorporation and the only ones from a corporation are employee donation matches from Google.

As to the rest, we simply disagree. Our city includes residents who own homes as I do and many who do not. You speak as if only long-time homeowners have a right to vote and speak and as an long time homeowner and most of my friends, we are the ones working to keep PA a welcoming place for all residents and small businesses.


mjh
Registered user
College Terrace
on Sep 5, 2020 at 4:30 pm
mjh, College Terrace
Registered user
on Sep 5, 2020 at 4:30 pm
16 people like this

In the summer of 2014, PAF announced with much fanfare their new organization, including a new website. This new website appeared to imply that this was a completely new group that had just organized that summer.

However, PAF had existed prior to that summer, including an earlier website with meeting notes, correspondence between members, a blog, and interestingly outlining the history of their formation, which I had been following. Including which company the original group worked for, whose business office was helping them, and how their group expanded, etc. At the time I even copied this section, but unfortunately onto an earlier computer no longer available.

When PAF took down their original website prior to launching their "new" organization, I noticed none of this was earlier information was included in their newly "sanitized" version of their history on the website.


Gale Johnson
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 6, 2020 at 5:05 pm
Gale Johnson, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Sep 6, 2020 at 5:05 pm
23 people like this

@stephen levy

I accept your challenge and correction of facts re Palintir. And yes, we will still disagree on many, maybe all, of the issues confronting us.

When we first moved to PA in 1961 we rented a 2 bdrm apartment on Alma for $125/mo. Our big wish was to own our own home. We had fallen in love with PA and wanted to buy a home here but the prices were out of our range. We drove on weekends to the new tract home open houses in Sunnyvale, Cupertino, and San Jose. Then I considered the commute time from them to my job at Philco's Western Developmental Labs here in PA. We decided to save up for a few years for a bigger down payment so we could afford to buy here in PA. That was a good decision.

I voted as a renter and I've voted as a home owner and you have misread and mis-characterized me and how I vote and who I think should be able to vote. There was a very good reason why we bought where we did. It was the neighborhood here in SPA. I've written a story for my Avenidas' Life Stories class about it. It has lost a lot of the character and charm of that original neighborhood but there's enough of it left that I don't want zoning rules and regulations to interfere with it.

And please, all you renters, get out there and vote. Your voice and vote are important, just like I thought mine was when I was a renter. But please be an informed voter. That will take some work.




Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 6, 2020 at 9:39 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Sep 6, 2020 at 9:39 pm
18 people like this


Do yourselves a favor and Google "Google housing development" and you'll be amazed at the number and sizes of the new "mixed use" complexes in the works. Read up om how many MILLIONS of square feet of offices are planned vs how many housing units. You'll see the new housing won't even come close to the number of new jobs and therefore will only increase competition for housing and hence raise prices.

Here's an article on just ONE of their latest planned complexes, this one for Middlefield in Mountain View.

Web Link

Then listen to the pro-development crowd lecture us on how roads like 101 must become ALL toll roads -- all lanes! -- to reduce congestion -- which just raises the cost of living while non-elected bodies like ABAG/MTC set targets of 3,000,000 more people and 1,000,000+ new jobs.

And the pro-development politicians tell US WE must pay commuters' commuting expenses which includes Lyft/Uber who threaten to leave if they have to pay their "gig workers" a living wage with benefits. How caring and civic-minded.

Like any of this will reduce congestion, create more affordable BMR housing or improve our communities.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 7, 2020 at 12:57 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Sep 7, 2020 at 12:57 pm
9 people like this

Perhaps the candidates, PAF and the YIMBY party and those setting ABAG/MTC targets could comment on how the above will improve our lives?


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 8, 2020 at 6:51 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Sep 8, 2020 at 6:51 am
11 people like this

A memory - onetime I slipped into a meeting of the Parks and Rec where they were discussing how Mitchell Park's new facilities could be used. Rental to groups. One young lady was very intent that only non-profit companies could use the facilities. What an odd concept - she was focused on Palantir as the ugly child to be disqualified from use of the park? Coming from a large corporation that has participated in all of the PA supported activities and paid their way doing that I wondered how a shift in concept had occurred. We clearly have a group that is trying to shape how this city works. And from where I am sitting that is all not to the good. We have been the incubator for HP, Apple, FB, etc. And the home base for the changing name of the large company on Fabien Way. Philco, Ford, SSL - Aerospace & Communications company. Now changed again. Bought by a group that will tear it down and make a work/residence community. Since Oshmen has taken over most of that property that is okay as long as all of the people park there and not all over the residential areas.
The problem I see is ABAG and it's cohorts that keep saying that multitudes of people will be descending upon us. And we do not have the space to do that. We do not have the infrastructure to do that. We do not have the power systems, water systems, transportation systems to do that. People single minded on an outcome with no concept as to how it will actually work. We need to keep check on people selling an idea that sounds good - single focus - but in reality will collapse under current circumstances. The whole state needs to have incubator locations and big idea places other than the peninsula.


Haru Sato
Registered user
Midtown
on Sep 13, 2020 at 7:44 pm
Haru Sato, Midtown
Registered user
on Sep 13, 2020 at 7:44 pm
3 people like this

Any more developer donations reported? Does anyone report on donations from Palo Alto voters vs non-voters. That would be very interesting to understand.


Staying Young Through Kids
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Sep 16, 2020 at 5:57 pm
Staying Young Through Kids, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Sep 16, 2020 at 5:57 pm
6 people like this

A bit of an aside from the thread...Overturning the Citizens United decision or reforming campaign finance at every level of government would solve a lot of our challenges. Including this one.

Mr. Tanaka will not get my vote for several reasons. His campaign finance sources and his gaming of the timing of his announcement will be just two of them.


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