Election Guide 2020: Palo Alto City Council

A high-rise view of Palo Alto. Embarcadero Media File photo by Veronica Weber.

News

Election Guide 2020: Palo Alto City Council

A high-rise view of Palo Alto. Embarcadero Media File photo by Veronica Weber.

The race for Palo Alto City Council has drawn a diverse set of candidates, each of whom has their own vision for tackling the mounting issues facing the city.

From detailed profiles to video interviews to our editorial board's endorsements, here's what you need to know about the 10 candidates.

Meet the candidates

Pat Burt

Profile: Back in the game - Oct. 2

Having previously served two terms on the City Council, Pat Burt believes his years of experience can help Palo Alto deal with its numerous challenges as well as reverse troubling trends in City Hall culture.

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After hiatus, Pat Burt looks to return to City Council - June 11

Pat Burt, a two-time mayor and one of the leading architects of Palo Alto's land-use policies and infrastructure plans, has launched his campaign for the City Council.

Rebecca Eisenberg

Profile: Swinging for the fences - Oct. 2

Rebecca Eisenberg, a corporate attorney, believes current council members have repeatedly kowtowed to the rich and the powerful at the community's expense.

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Palo Alto attorney plans to seek City Council seat - May 12

Rebecca Eisenberg, a Palo Alto attorney who has criticized the City Council for being too friendly to commercial developers, announced this weekend her plan to run for a council seat in November, becoming the first challenger to enter the race.

Lydia Kou

Profile: Playing zone defense - Oct. 2

Lydia Kou, who's looking to keep her seat on the Palo Alto City Council this fall, distinguishes herself from the other two "residentialists" on the council as less likely to compromise on growth issues.

Lydia Kou seeks fresh term on Palo Alto City Council - May 28

City Councilwoman Lydia Kou, who over the past four years established herself as one of Palo Alto's most strident opponents of dense developments and Sacramento housing mandates, plans to pursue a new term.

Ed Lauing

Profile: A steady hand - Oct. 2

As a former CEO who currently works as an executive recruiter, Lauing believes his business background and his years of service on Palo Alto commissions give him the perfect platform to steer the city.

After spending a decade on commissions, Ed Lauing sets sights on City Council seat - June 10

Ed Lauing has spent the past decade on the city's Parks and Recreation Commission and the Planning and Transportation Commission, where he is currently a member. Now, Lauing is preparing to join the race for the City Council.

Steven Lee

Profile: Proudly progressive

Steven Lee likes to push for reform, even if that means ruffling a few feathers at City Hall.

Seeking a more 'progressive' government, human relations commissioner joins council race - July 21

Steven Lee, a member of the Human Relations Commission and an outspoken critic of City Council's recent record on human rights, is joining the increasingly crowded race for a council seat.

Raven Malone

Profile: Seeking social justice - Oct. 2

Raven Malone is relatively new to Palo Alto, having moved here in the beginning of this year, but her City Council campaign has struck a chord with those who believe the city is lagging on addressing its housing crisis.

Black Lives Matter activist Raven Malone contends for City Council - July 21

Raven Malone, an engineer who wants to bring a community-led approach to policing in Palo Alto, has added her name to the City Council race.

Greer Stone

Profile: Keeping it local - Oct. 2

Greer Stone wants Palo Alto to get a handle on its housing crisis, starting with the preservation of existing housing, so that thousands of renters, like him and his wife, can continue to live here.

Gunn High teacher Greer Stone joins race for City Council - July 7

Greer Stone, a Gunn High School history teacher and former chair of the Palo Alto's Human Relations Commission, has joined the increasingly crowded race for a seat on the City Council.

Greg Tanaka

Profile: Following the money - Oct. 2

Greg Tanaka's positions have often made him an outlier on issues that otherwise had broad council support, yet when it comes to broader land-use questions, the former planning commissioner has invariably sided with the council's pro-growth faction.

State will not investigate Tanaka's campaign contributions - Sept. 14

The California Fair Political Practices Commission has decided to not investigate a complaint that was filed against Palo Alto City Councilman Greg Tanaka for accepting campaign contributions from developers well before he formed a reelection committee in July.

Councilman Greg Tanaka faces complaint over campaign contributions - Aug. 19

Greg Tanaka is now facing scrutiny for December 2019 and January 2020 contributions, which he collected well before his new campaign committee was established.

Greg Tanaka, Palo Alto's leading fiscal hawk, seeks another four years on City Council - July 22

Greg Tanaka, a tech CEO who over the past four years has established himself as the City Council's most vocal fiscal hawk, has announced that he will seek a second council term.

Cari Templeton

Profile: Ready to listen - Oct. 2

Cari Templeton wants to turn down the temperature in Palo Alto's heated debates about housing and growth policies.

Chair of planning commission enters City Council race - June 9

Cari Templeton, a community volunteer and housing advocate who chairs Palo Alto's Planning and Transportation Commission, has announced that she will be seeking a seat on the City Council.

Ajit Varma

Profile: All business - Oct. 2

As someone who works with businesses around the globe, Palo Alto City Council candidate Ajit Varma believes he is ideally suited to help the local business sector recover from the devastating impacts of COVID-19.

City Council candidate Ajit Varma hopes to change Palo Alto's 'anti-business' climate - Aug. 13

Crescent Park resident Ajit Varma believes Palo Alto isn't doing enough to support local businesses and encourage diversity. He hopes to do something about it by joining the City Council.

Campaign financing

City Council incumbents retain cash edge as Election Day looms - Oct. 23

City Council member Greg Tanaka continues to enjoy a sizable lead in cash raised over his nine opponents in the City Council race, even as five other candidates have seen a recent uptick of contributions.

City Council incumbents maintain cash edge in crowded Palo Alto race - Sept. 25

The two incumbents in Palo Alto's crowded race for City Council seats are leading the 10-candidate field in campaign contributions, while six of their challengers have received more than $20,000 in donations, new campaign finance disclosures show.

Incumbent builds strong financial lead in crowded Palo Alto City Council race - Sept. 2

City Councilman Greg Tanaka has amassed a formidable financial advantage over the rest of the 10-candidate field, financial disclosure reports indicate.

Debate

The 10 candidates for Palo Alto City Council speak about their platforms and positions during a debate sponsored by the Palo Alto Weekly on Sept. 24. Video by Palo Alto Online.

Palo Alto City Council candidates diverge on housing, unite on police reform - Sept. 25

The 10 candidates vying for four open seats on the Palo Alto City Council hold starkly different views on housing production, commercial development and recent state housing bills, but most agree that it's time for the city to open Foothills Park to nonresidents, beef up citizen oversight of the Police Department and institute campaign-finance reform.

Infographics

What you need to know about where the 10 City Council candidates stand on key issues

Find out where the 10 candidates running for City Council stand on housing, the pandemic, finance, transportation and commercial development in this side-by-side comparison.

Editorial board recommendation

Editorial: Burt, Lauing, Stone, Kou for City Council

The Weekly editorial board's recommendations for council reflect a desire to choose candidates who have the governance experience and deep knowledge of our community to successfully navigate the city's challenges.

This page will be updated with more content in the coming weeks.

Find more of our 2020 election coverage here.

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Election Guide 2020: Palo Alto City Council

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Oct 6, 2020, 1:27 pm
Updated: Fri, Oct 23, 2020, 10:19 am

The race for Palo Alto City Council has drawn a diverse set of candidates, each of whom has their own vision for tackling the mounting issues facing the city.

From detailed profiles to video interviews to our editorial board's endorsements, here's what you need to know about the 10 candidates.

Pat Burt

Profile: Back in the game - Oct. 2

Having previously served two terms on the City Council, Pat Burt believes his years of experience can help Palo Alto deal with its numerous challenges as well as reverse troubling trends in City Hall culture.

After hiatus, Pat Burt looks to return to City Council - June 11

Pat Burt, a two-time mayor and one of the leading architects of Palo Alto's land-use policies and infrastructure plans, has launched his campaign for the City Council.

Rebecca Eisenberg

Profile: Swinging for the fences - Oct. 2

Rebecca Eisenberg, a corporate attorney, believes current council members have repeatedly kowtowed to the rich and the powerful at the community's expense.

Palo Alto attorney plans to seek City Council seat - May 12

Rebecca Eisenberg, a Palo Alto attorney who has criticized the City Council for being too friendly to commercial developers, announced this weekend her plan to run for a council seat in November, becoming the first challenger to enter the race.

Lydia Kou

Profile: Playing zone defense - Oct. 2

Lydia Kou, who's looking to keep her seat on the Palo Alto City Council this fall, distinguishes herself from the other two "residentialists" on the council as less likely to compromise on growth issues.

Lydia Kou seeks fresh term on Palo Alto City Council - May 28

City Councilwoman Lydia Kou, who over the past four years established herself as one of Palo Alto's most strident opponents of dense developments and Sacramento housing mandates, plans to pursue a new term.

Ed Lauing

Profile: A steady hand - Oct. 2

As a former CEO who currently works as an executive recruiter, Lauing believes his business background and his years of service on Palo Alto commissions give him the perfect platform to steer the city.

After spending a decade on commissions, Ed Lauing sets sights on City Council seat - June 10

Ed Lauing has spent the past decade on the city's Parks and Recreation Commission and the Planning and Transportation Commission, where he is currently a member. Now, Lauing is preparing to join the race for the City Council.

Steven Lee

Profile: Proudly progressive

Steven Lee likes to push for reform, even if that means ruffling a few feathers at City Hall.

Seeking a more 'progressive' government, human relations commissioner joins council race - July 21

Steven Lee, a member of the Human Relations Commission and an outspoken critic of City Council's recent record on human rights, is joining the increasingly crowded race for a council seat.

Raven Malone

Profile: Seeking social justice - Oct. 2

Raven Malone is relatively new to Palo Alto, having moved here in the beginning of this year, but her City Council campaign has struck a chord with those who believe the city is lagging on addressing its housing crisis.

Black Lives Matter activist Raven Malone contends for City Council - July 21

Raven Malone, an engineer who wants to bring a community-led approach to policing in Palo Alto, has added her name to the City Council race.

Greer Stone

Profile: Keeping it local - Oct. 2

Greer Stone wants Palo Alto to get a handle on its housing crisis, starting with the preservation of existing housing, so that thousands of renters, like him and his wife, can continue to live here.

Gunn High teacher Greer Stone joins race for City Council - July 7

Greer Stone, a Gunn High School history teacher and former chair of the Palo Alto's Human Relations Commission, has joined the increasingly crowded race for a seat on the City Council.

Greg Tanaka

Profile: Following the money - Oct. 2

Greg Tanaka's positions have often made him an outlier on issues that otherwise had broad council support, yet when it comes to broader land-use questions, the former planning commissioner has invariably sided with the council's pro-growth faction.

State will not investigate Tanaka's campaign contributions - Sept. 14

The California Fair Political Practices Commission has decided to not investigate a complaint that was filed against Palo Alto City Councilman Greg Tanaka for accepting campaign contributions from developers well before he formed a reelection committee in July.

Councilman Greg Tanaka faces complaint over campaign contributions - Aug. 19

Greg Tanaka is now facing scrutiny for December 2019 and January 2020 contributions, which he collected well before his new campaign committee was established.

Greg Tanaka, Palo Alto's leading fiscal hawk, seeks another four years on City Council - July 22

Greg Tanaka, a tech CEO who over the past four years has established himself as the City Council's most vocal fiscal hawk, has announced that he will seek a second council term.

Cari Templeton

Profile: Ready to listen - Oct. 2

Cari Templeton wants to turn down the temperature in Palo Alto's heated debates about housing and growth policies.

Chair of planning commission enters City Council race - June 9

Cari Templeton, a community volunteer and housing advocate who chairs Palo Alto's Planning and Transportation Commission, has announced that she will be seeking a seat on the City Council.

Ajit Varma

Profile: All business - Oct. 2

As someone who works with businesses around the globe, Palo Alto City Council candidate Ajit Varma believes he is ideally suited to help the local business sector recover from the devastating impacts of COVID-19.

City Council candidate Ajit Varma hopes to change Palo Alto's 'anti-business' climate - Aug. 13

Crescent Park resident Ajit Varma believes Palo Alto isn't doing enough to support local businesses and encourage diversity. He hopes to do something about it by joining the City Council.

City Council incumbents retain cash edge as Election Day looms - Oct. 23

City Council member Greg Tanaka continues to enjoy a sizable lead in cash raised over his nine opponents in the City Council race, even as five other candidates have seen a recent uptick of contributions.

City Council incumbents maintain cash edge in crowded Palo Alto race - Sept. 25

The two incumbents in Palo Alto's crowded race for City Council seats are leading the 10-candidate field in campaign contributions, while six of their challengers have received more than $20,000 in donations, new campaign finance disclosures show.

Incumbent builds strong financial lead in crowded Palo Alto City Council race - Sept. 2

City Councilman Greg Tanaka has amassed a formidable financial advantage over the rest of the 10-candidate field, financial disclosure reports indicate.

Palo Alto City Council candidates diverge on housing, unite on police reform - Sept. 25

The 10 candidates vying for four open seats on the Palo Alto City Council hold starkly different views on housing production, commercial development and recent state housing bills, but most agree that it's time for the city to open Foothills Park to nonresidents, beef up citizen oversight of the Police Department and institute campaign-finance reform.

What you need to know about where the 10 City Council candidates stand on key issues

Find out where the 10 candidates running for City Council stand on housing, the pandemic, finance, transportation and commercial development in this side-by-side comparison.

Editorial: Burt, Lauing, Stone, Kou for City Council

The Weekly editorial board's recommendations for council reflect a desire to choose candidates who have the governance experience and deep knowledge of our community to successfully navigate the city's challenges.

This page will be updated with more content in the coming weeks.

Find more of our 2020 election coverage here.

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