News

Billionaire donor for new city gym revealed — and his money comes with strings attached

In exchange for funding, John Arrillaga looks to exercise control over project's design, contractor

Palo Alto currently doesn't have a public gym, though it leases gym space at Cubberley Community Center from the Palo Alto Unified School District. Embarcadero Media file photo.

If Palo Alto were to accept tens of millions of dollars from a donor to construct a new gym, it would also have to expedite the approval process for the project and give the donor full say when it comes to selection of a contractor and the gym’s layout.

Those are the stipulations that the donor, billionaire developer and philanthropist John Arrillaga, has attached to his offer to give $30 million or more for construction of the gym, a project that has recently been identified by the city's Parks and Recreation Commission as a city priority. The city currently does not have a public gym, though it leases gym space at Cubberley Community Center from the Palo Alto Unified School District.

A report that the city released Thursday identifies Arrillaga for the first time as the donor who proposed contributing to the project last December. It also makes clear that if the city were to accept the gift, it would have to play by Arrillaga's rules. This means having Arrillaga contribute the basic design and footprint of the new gym and foregoing the typical bidding process for construction in favor of Arrillaga’s pre-selected contractor.

The city would also have to contribute about $10 million for the project, with Arrillaga footing the rest of the bill for what would be a two-story "wellness center" with an estimated price tag of $35 million to $40 million.

The proposed gym exceeds in some ways the facility that the Parks and Recreation Commission had in mind, which had an estimated cost of about $25 million, according to an analysis by the commission's ad hoc committee. In its recommendation, the commission called for a gym with three courts that could accommodate various sports, including basketball, volleyball, pickleball, indoor soccer, badminton and table tennis. The facility would also include exercise rooms for classes and smaller meeting rooms.

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Jeff LaMere, a parks commissioner who served on the ad hoc committee, said during a November hearing on the project that the gym can be "an anchor of health and wellness for this community."

Palo Alto City Council member Tom DuBois, who spoke to Arrillaga in December about his offer, said the donor's proposal is very much aligned with this vision. The new report notes that the two-level design now being proposed by Arrillaga "would provide an opportunity to incorporate numerous other complimentary uses, such that the facility could be described as a 'wellness center' rather than simply a gymnasium."

Arrillaga is well known both for his philanthropy and for his hands-on approach to the projects he funds. He was a major private donor to the public gym in Menlo Park, which opened at the city's Civic Center in 2010, and he is known for contributing to numerous athletic facilities at Stanford University, many of which bear his name.

His hands-on approach hasn't always found favor in Palo Alto, however. In 2012, Arrillaga had proposed a project at 27 University Ave. that included four office towers and a theater. The proposal, which was pitched and developed behind closed doors, blew up once it became public, with many residents blasting the city for its lack of transparency. That view also was reflected in a scathing 2014 report from the Santa Clara County Grand Jury, which was titled "The City of Palo Alto's Actions Reduced Transparency and Inhibited Public Input and Scrutiny on Important Land Issues."

The city tried to avoid the same problem this time around by immediately announcing Arrillaga's offer, even though his identity was not revealed until this week. The new report from the city makes clear, however, that the donor has little patience for the city's typically lengthy approval and design process. The report notes that Arrillaga has "expressed a strong desire for the project to advance quickly."

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"This would likely require expediting the selection of a preferred location, which would then be evaluated in detail concurrently with environmental clearance and community engagement on programming priorities," the report states. "Similarly, expediting design and other approvals could be considered, potentially with a goal of beginning construction within the coming year."

The council will consider the proposed gym at its Jan. 31 meeting. If it decides to play ball with Arrillaga, it would have to identify $10 million from the city's coffers to contribute to the project, as well as ways to pay for any consultants, utilities and furnishings.

The gym would likely compete for funding with other infrastructure projects that the city is looking to build, including a new skatepark, improvements to the city's animal shelter, new dog parks and park restrooms and a history museum on Homer Avenue.

Gennady Sheyner covers the City Hall beat in Palo Alto as well as regional politics, with a special focus on housing and transportation. Before joining the Palo Alto Weekly/PaloAltoOnline.com in 2008, he covered breaking news and local politics for the Waterbury Republican-American, a daily newspaper in Connecticut. Read more >>

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Billionaire donor for new city gym revealed — and his money comes with strings attached

In exchange for funding, John Arrillaga looks to exercise control over project's design, contractor

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Fri, Jan 21, 2022, 9:38 am

If Palo Alto were to accept tens of millions of dollars from a donor to construct a new gym, it would also have to expedite the approval process for the project and give the donor full say when it comes to selection of a contractor and the gym’s layout.

Those are the stipulations that the donor, billionaire developer and philanthropist John Arrillaga, has attached to his offer to give $30 million or more for construction of the gym, a project that has recently been identified by the city's Parks and Recreation Commission as a city priority. The city currently does not have a public gym, though it leases gym space at Cubberley Community Center from the Palo Alto Unified School District.

A report that the city released Thursday identifies Arrillaga for the first time as the donor who proposed contributing to the project last December. It also makes clear that if the city were to accept the gift, it would have to play by Arrillaga's rules. This means having Arrillaga contribute the basic design and footprint of the new gym and foregoing the typical bidding process for construction in favor of Arrillaga’s pre-selected contractor.

The city would also have to contribute about $10 million for the project, with Arrillaga footing the rest of the bill for what would be a two-story "wellness center" with an estimated price tag of $35 million to $40 million.

The proposed gym exceeds in some ways the facility that the Parks and Recreation Commission had in mind, which had an estimated cost of about $25 million, according to an analysis by the commission's ad hoc committee. In its recommendation, the commission called for a gym with three courts that could accommodate various sports, including basketball, volleyball, pickleball, indoor soccer, badminton and table tennis. The facility would also include exercise rooms for classes and smaller meeting rooms.

Jeff LaMere, a parks commissioner who served on the ad hoc committee, said during a November hearing on the project that the gym can be "an anchor of health and wellness for this community."

Palo Alto City Council member Tom DuBois, who spoke to Arrillaga in December about his offer, said the donor's proposal is very much aligned with this vision. The new report notes that the two-level design now being proposed by Arrillaga "would provide an opportunity to incorporate numerous other complimentary uses, such that the facility could be described as a 'wellness center' rather than simply a gymnasium."

Arrillaga is well known both for his philanthropy and for his hands-on approach to the projects he funds. He was a major private donor to the public gym in Menlo Park, which opened at the city's Civic Center in 2010, and he is known for contributing to numerous athletic facilities at Stanford University, many of which bear his name.

His hands-on approach hasn't always found favor in Palo Alto, however. In 2012, Arrillaga had proposed a project at 27 University Ave. that included four office towers and a theater. The proposal, which was pitched and developed behind closed doors, blew up once it became public, with many residents blasting the city for its lack of transparency. That view also was reflected in a scathing 2014 report from the Santa Clara County Grand Jury, which was titled "The City of Palo Alto's Actions Reduced Transparency and Inhibited Public Input and Scrutiny on Important Land Issues."

The city tried to avoid the same problem this time around by immediately announcing Arrillaga's offer, even though his identity was not revealed until this week. The new report from the city makes clear, however, that the donor has little patience for the city's typically lengthy approval and design process. The report notes that Arrillaga has "expressed a strong desire for the project to advance quickly."

"This would likely require expediting the selection of a preferred location, which would then be evaluated in detail concurrently with environmental clearance and community engagement on programming priorities," the report states. "Similarly, expediting design and other approvals could be considered, potentially with a goal of beginning construction within the coming year."

The council will consider the proposed gym at its Jan. 31 meeting. If it decides to play ball with Arrillaga, it would have to identify $10 million from the city's coffers to contribute to the project, as well as ways to pay for any consultants, utilities and furnishings.

The gym would likely compete for funding with other infrastructure projects that the city is looking to build, including a new skatepark, improvements to the city's animal shelter, new dog parks and park restrooms and a history museum on Homer Avenue.

Comments

Kimberly Sweidy
Registered user
South of Midtown
on Jan 21, 2022 at 10:34 am
Kimberly Sweidy, South of Midtown
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2022 at 10:34 am

Mr. Arrillaga is well known and well respected for giving generously of his time, energy, money and expertise. In my opinion, no one is our government is competent or qualified to take responsibility for a project of this importance, complexity and magnitude.

I'm grateful that Mr. Arrillaga not only recognizes this fact but is willing to take this on.

His contribution to the Ronald McDonald House expansion was invaluable. Truly! (I am a long-time major donor to RMcDH.)


Paly Dad
Registered user
Midtown
on Jan 21, 2022 at 10:40 am
Paly Dad, Midtown
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2022 at 10:40 am

I agree with Kimberly. Mr. Arrillaga's requirements make perfect sense. I would trust his ability to get us a top notch facility in reasonable time. An experienced developer, he would be far more competent at driving this than our city government.


A Person
Registered user
Southgate
on Jan 21, 2022 at 10:42 am
A Person, Southgate
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2022 at 10:42 am

John Arrillaga did a great job with the Menlo Park city property at Burgess. He's smart about function and inclined toward beauty. This will be great for Palo Alto.


Michelledb
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Jan 21, 2022 at 10:44 am
Michelledb, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2022 at 10:44 am

Why doesn’t JA just pay fir the whole thing? His insistence that PA pay 10 million is strange to me. Palo Alto has a growing unhoused issue. I would much rather see even one new apartment building for low income folks than a shiny new gym. Both Gunn and Paly have beautiful gyms that can be rented. Cubberly’s gym is also fine. Prioritizing another gym while this city faces real problems feels so sad.


M
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Jan 21, 2022 at 10:58 am
M, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2022 at 10:58 am

Is transparency really the main issue here? Given the city's inability to control the scope and costs of large public projects, like the library, parking garage and police station, I can see valid reasons for this donor to insist on controlling who builds it and its scope. It appears he is proposing something better than Parks and Recreation had imagined, and it will be fixed price to the city at $10m.

I'm no fan of developers, but they are probably much better at getting buildings built on time, within scope and on budget than the City is. Hopefully the city won't turn this into another Caltrans Crossing, City Museum or Castilleja, with years of indecision. (Why would somebody not insist on expedited reviews and retaining control given of how hamstrung and out of control large city managed projects have become?)


Local news junkie
Registered user
Charleston Meadows
on Jan 21, 2022 at 11:00 am
Local news junkie, Charleston Meadows
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2022 at 11:00 am

While I applauded the donor’s generosity, to give him so much control is just wrong. Why should a public agency like the city of Palo Alto put itself up for sale to a billionaire, or anyone? This would look horrible! If the donor wants to exercise more control, let him run for city office like everyone else.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jan 21, 2022 at 11:04 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2022 at 11:04 am

The city's spending $10,000,000 to compete with private gyms makes as little sense as spending $23,000,000 to compete with AT&T et al on fiber to the home for which we signed up with AT&T for a reasonable amount months ago.


NeilsonBuchanan
Registered user
Downtown North
on Jan 21, 2022 at 11:06 am
NeilsonBuchanan, Downtown North
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2022 at 11:06 am

This will be an interesting experiment in the art of the possible.

I personally can support the benefits of community health services (aka a "gym" and its programs). I can accept delays for other unclear priorities such as the history museum. Assuming it is within authority of city government, I can support delegation of design and construction process to the proven, competent private sector.

One issue remains. Capital costs of government services often are relatively small compared to ongoing operational costs. City Council has a first-class finance department. City finance staff must be active participants in early financial plans and early service programming with "gym" experts who understand operating/maintenance costs and revenues.

The devil is in the details even with millions of free capital.


MES
Registered user
Palo Verde
on Jan 21, 2022 at 11:17 am
MES, Palo Verde
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2022 at 11:17 am

Having a public Palo Alto Wellness Center is an important priority for the City. I am wondering if everyone including Parks and Recreation can adopt the term Wellness Center and leave behind the term Gym. Wellness connotes wellness in every aspect of our being--not just physical health--but whole person health. Having spaces for yoga, meditation, and other activities is as important as having sports courts. Let's give Mr. Arrillaga the opportunity to show us how he can be a thoughtful member of the community. Let's give his proposal a try. We need to find new ways to get things done.


Rita Lancefield
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 21, 2022 at 11:31 am
Rita Lancefield, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2022 at 11:31 am

I still can't figure out why we need a community gym when we can't house the people who work to keep the city and schools going. We have two high school gyms, Cubberly, the YMCA and more for-profit gyms than I can count. I can think of so many better ways to spend our $10,000,000 plus overruns share.


neighbor of PA
Registered user
Menlo Park
on Jan 21, 2022 at 11:36 am
neighbor of PA, Menlo Park
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2022 at 11:36 am

Don’t accept this money. The buildings he built at Stanford were poorly designed and built and lacking in basic good HVAC systems. What’s up with no good locker room facilities at an athletic building? But he got his name on them—the goal, apparently.


Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 21, 2022 at 11:36 am
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2022 at 11:36 am

Looking at what happened with the new footbridge over 101, it is apparent the City can't get anything done in a reasonable amount of time.

Our youth are forgotten about in Palo Alto. Not everyone can get on a school team, not everyone wants to join an expensive gym such as JCC or YMCA. Where can our youth go on a day where there is no school just to play a pick up game for fun?

Build the facility, get it done quickly. Put your name on it if you have to or whatever else, I don't particularly care. Thank you for your generosity to the well being of Palo Alto residents.


Carla
Registered user
Downtown North
on Jan 21, 2022 at 11:58 am
Carla, Downtown North
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2022 at 11:58 am

The Arrillaga gyms at Stanford are absolutely well-designed and beautiful. The City would be short-sighted to not accept this and allow him to build it under his conditions. It would be a valuable asset to the public good.

However, since he wanted to be anonymous, this gym should absolutely not be named after him.


Local news junkie
Registered user
Charleston Meadows
on Jan 21, 2022 at 12:13 pm
Local news junkie, Charleston Meadows
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2022 at 12:13 pm

I wonder, if the city decides to “play by Mr. Arillaga’s rules”, what’s next? What if Mr. Zuckerberg donates millions for another project, but demands control? There are lots of very rich people in the area, and I’m sure most are very nice and public-spririted individuals. But to cede control of the public process to a private individual, no matter what his/her bank account, is undemocratic.


Palo Alto Res
Registered user
Downtown North
on Jan 21, 2022 at 12:15 pm
Palo Alto Res, Downtown North
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2022 at 12:15 pm

Having a public gym would be great. Right now the city pays for leasing it's gym at Cubberly. The facilities of a new public gym would help the city to hold more community events (regardless of weather). An indoor basketball, indoor soccer, indoor volleyball...

Let's try not to examine a gift horse in the mouth. A free health and wellness center, where youth can get help and host free meetings.. talk about win-win.

This will help Palo Alto as a city shine even more. It will be a community center to provide more outreach and provide services and a place for services. Capping the cost of building such a building at $10 million, and having someone step up to oversee the project and cover any cost over $10 million is terrific. Look at how things take forever in Palo Alto and things such as the bridge or dealing with the high speed rail near Alma has exponentially increased in cost as the city did studies and surveys and changed plans and had more consultations and changed their plans and increased costs, and then had more consultations, changed their plans and increased costs.

This proposal sounds practical and financially smart. Get the free public gym built!


Observer
Registered user
Menlo Park
on Jan 21, 2022 at 12:59 pm
Observer, Menlo Park
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2022 at 12:59 pm

Well naming the gym should be easy and also inexpensive letter-wise.
Ego Gym


Novelera
Registered user
Midtown
on Jan 21, 2022 at 1:41 pm
Novelera, Midtown
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2022 at 1:41 pm

A construction company I've worked with has lots of experience with Mr. Arillaga's behavior. His name is on whatever is built but contractors and subcontractors feel like they're working for Scrooge McDuck.


Midlander
Registered user
Midtown
on Jan 21, 2022 at 5:25 pm
Midlander, Midtown
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2022 at 5:25 pm

> Mr. Arillaga's ... contractors and subcontractors feel like they're working for Scrooge McDuck

Oh, if only the City of Palo Alto could drive hard bargains and earn itself such a nickname!

As another commenter noted, commercial developers do seem to understand how to built projects on time and on budget. And, yes, that means driving hard on costs, rather than letting subcontractrors do what they want. If he has actually cheated anyone, that would be bad. But it sounds like he merely watches money closely, which is well and good!


Nayeli
Registered user
Midtown
on Jan 21, 2022 at 5:50 pm
Nayeli, Midtown
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2022 at 5:50 pm

After some of the wasteful spending and questionable building projects in Palo Alto, I believe that Mr. Arillaga has a good reason to be suspicious of the City. At the same time, I do think that the City needs to pause and consider this proposal. I think that it would definitely meet a need in Palo Alto. People can call him "Scrooge" (or "Scrooge McDuck") all they want, but many residents do see a problem with the way the City of Palo Alto conducts building projects.


Easy8
Registered user
Green Acres
on Jan 21, 2022 at 7:58 pm
Easy8, Green Acres
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2022 at 7:58 pm

Remember how fast Arrillaga built the sparkling Stanford football stadium? I was at the last game of the old stadium in 2005, you could see the bulldozers off to the side which began demolition within minutes of the game ending. Just 10 months later, a sparkling new football stadium was ready to go in time for the 2006 season.


Virginia Smedberg
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Jan 21, 2022 at 8:09 pm
Virginia Smedberg, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Jan 21, 2022 at 8:09 pm

Good point, M Buchanan: "Capital costs of government services often are relatively small compared to ongoing operational costs." I believe some colleges for example have refused donations for new buildings because of the potential maintenance costs. When I first heard that concept I thought: the best donation from a sensible donor would be titled "The Whoever Donor Janitorial Closet". With a basic endowment fund enough to ensure its ongoing payouts would cover said maintenance for the life of the building. People like their names on big things. But creating future costs for the city is not a good idea - in fact it's unfair to those of us who will continue to live here and thus foot those bills. If Mr Arrillaga really wants his project, he should give enough to ensure it stays functional for its entire life.


Banes
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Jan 22, 2022 at 2:23 pm
Banes, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Jan 22, 2022 at 2:23 pm

I completely agree with Kimberly, Paly Dad et al.
But some of these comments here exhibit exactly WHY the donor has “conditions”.
Leave it to the City Council & nothing happens. Bickering whether a gym is more useful or low income housing should be earmarked for Arriaga’s benevolence is absurd. Its not about low income housing Rita, its about a public community gym. Good Lord!
Arriaga has done this before, many times successfully! He knows Palo Alto can’t get out of its own way other than to nick its own nose, and can’t even stay on track. Its about a community gym nothing else, low income housing is not a gym. Stay on topic.


Banes
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Jan 22, 2022 at 2:33 pm
Banes, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Jan 22, 2022 at 2:33 pm

If the City & City Taxpayers can foot the ongoing park ranger, maintenance, utilities & educational buildings & facilities , insurance liability bills for Foothills Park for the greater public at large (how much does this cost each & everyone on their tax bills annually), I suspect one community gym would be far less expensive to maintain.

Maybe put the gym in Foothills Park so Everyone and their dog & inlaws and outlaws can have free access. That would be very Palo Altoan.


mjh
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jan 22, 2022 at 4:27 pm
mjh, College Terrace
Registered user
on Jan 22, 2022 at 4:27 pm

The devil is in the details

When Arrillaga negotiated with the city manager to
replace McCarthur Park with two 100’ office towers he offered to include a new theatre as a public benefit. Many were thrilled and eager to accept the offer. That is, until finding Arrillaga was generously offering an exterior shell with residents to pay all the interior costs.

The question is, in addition to the $10 million Arrillaga requires the city to contribute toward construction costs, will residents have to pay an additional costs to convert an empty shell into a gym? Or is that what the $10 million for?




RobLancefield
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 22, 2022 at 4:37 pm
RobLancefield, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Jan 22, 2022 at 4:37 pm

To Banes. I am not talking about having Arrilaga finance low/moderate housing. I am asking the city to prioritize possibilities. Land is one of our most rapidly dwindling assets as a city and we should not base our decision on how much money we can get from outside but on what our vision a of a future Palo Alto could be.


Annette
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jan 23, 2022 at 12:16 pm
Annette, College Terrace
Registered user
on Jan 23, 2022 at 12:16 pm

So much for confidentiality. But the reveal is hardly a surprise. This area may have a long list of millionaires and billionaires, but the sublist of those who are civic-minded and generous isn't all that long. Like his partner, Arrillaga has earned a reputation for being one of those rare developers who uses his wealth for civic projects that benefit many people. Ditto Stanford projects. Easy8 makes a good point. It was Arrillaga who moved earth, literally, to get the Stanford stadium rebuilt in less than a year. If I was making a GIFT of $35 MILLION to a city like ours, I'd attach some conditions. Who wouldn't?

It would be exceedingly wonderful if a consortium of area developers gifted money for a homeless shelter or some truly affordable housing, but as others have pointed out, housing is a quagmire. Furthermore, they might question the need to donate towards housing and homelessness in a state that has a $30 BILLION surplus that can be used to address those issues. Frankly, instead of amassing such a surplus, wouldn't it have been more responsible (and kinder) to have already spent some of that money on shelters so that people weren't out on the streets this winter? It's pathetic to politicize homelessness.


community member
Registered user
University South
on Jan 23, 2022 at 4:56 pm
community member, University South
Registered user
on Jan 23, 2022 at 4:56 pm

I would respect Arrillaga if his values weren't so low.
1-money
2-sports
2-seeing his name broadcast on all his projects. When I see a building with
his name boldly displayed, I have same reaction as I do to a building called Trump.
Namely, Yuk.
Macho hyper-masculinity on a multi-million dollar scale.


Banes
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Jan 24, 2022 at 9:06 am
Banes, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Jan 24, 2022 at 9:06 am

To "community member" if you don't like civic-minded, benevolent or wealthy people's names on buildings, why don't you fund and sponsor a community structure or at minimal provide free ongoing janitorial services for same. What kind of a single-minded remark is that? Clearly you don't have children, grandchildren or any personal interest in sports whereby any benefit from learning how to play with others vs. solo fixation with a bottomless pit cell phone/computer game. Have you ever been to any hospital, Lucille Packard Children's Hospital or Ronald McDonald's? They all have donor's names in various forms, on brings, walls, wings, specialty departments. Mayo Clinic?

As for bringing up low income housing with this discussion. It is an entirely different City planning that requires State/Fed funding as it benefits a few, select vs. benefitting an entire community. Its an entirely different beast and not on the same tax or community benefits category.

Anyone remember Steve Jobs wanting to sponsor and pay to have the local city park nearby his house renovated? Palo Alto City turned him down. That park today would have simply been one of the nicest parks in town, no name entitlement involved. The Politics of Palo Alto are slow and go nowhere left to themselves.


JS1
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 24, 2022 at 8:44 pm
JS1, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 24, 2022 at 8:44 pm
Pat Markevitch
Registered user
Downtown North
on Jan 24, 2022 at 9:00 pm
Pat Markevitch, Downtown North
Registered user
on Jan 24, 2022 at 9:00 pm

John Arrillaga passed away today RIP.


DebbieMytels
Registered user
Midtown
on Jan 25, 2022 at 11:56 am
DebbieMytels, Midtown
Registered user
on Jan 25, 2022 at 11:56 am

I agree with Rita Lancefield. What do we need another gym for? We need funds for housing, instead! Now that Mr. Arrillaga has passed away, let's turn down this silly offer and, as another commenter said, forget about the on-going operating costs that would further drain the city budget.

Moreover, allowing a precedent that would have the private sector take over community functions like plan approval can only lead to disaster over the long run. Look at what happens in Third World countries when buildings are constructed without attention to proper plans and building inspection.


Paul Wick
Registered user
Charleston Meadows
on Jan 25, 2022 at 12:31 pm
Paul Wick, Charleston Meadows
Registered user
on Jan 25, 2022 at 12:31 pm

A true and sincere gift should come with no strings attached.


Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 25, 2022 at 3:57 pm
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jan 25, 2022 at 3:57 pm

Sad news about the demise of said donor who by all accounts is going to be missed. RIP and my sympathies to his family.

Of course we have no idea if this offer will still be standing.

Saying this, of course we could spend a whopping billion dollars to help the homeless and there would still be homeless people in the area. Throwing money at the problem will not solve the problem and will only make it appear that something is being done.

Youth in Palo Alto are forgotten by City Council. Our parks are overrun with leagues and organized groups. Teens are told they are too old to play on a playground, so what is there for them? A skate park has been proposed but nothing has been done. This is the Palo Alto way. A bike bridge took forever and was way over initial cost estimates due to Palo Alto shenanigans. It is about time we, the residents, were able to get something in a timely manner that we can use without having to wait years for it to happen.


Green Gables
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 25, 2022 at 5:01 pm
Green Gables, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Jan 25, 2022 at 5:01 pm

Hey Bystander, California will never solve the homeless problem. Oh heavens some of those homeless do not want to be housed, and California has a law that says nobody can be forced inside. Stupid law.


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