News

Vicki Veenker launches campaign for City Council

Local attorney, mediator looks to focus on housing, climate change

Vicki Veenker, a local attorney and mediator who recently launched the Sibling Cities USA program to create partnerships between cities in different regions of the country, announced Wednesday that she is planning to run for a seat on the Palo Alto City Council.

Vicki Veenker. Courtesy Vicki Veenker.

With the announcement, Veenker became the fourth candidate to enter the race for the three seats that will open up at the end of this year. Ed Lauing, chair of the Planning and Transportation Commission, Hope Lancero, a medical researcher at Stanford University, and Lisa Forssell, a member of the city's Utilities Advisory Commission, also said they will seek council seats this fall.

A patent attorney who spent nearly 20 years as director of the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley and who helped launch the Women's Professional Soccer, Veenker isn't entirely new to local or state politics. In 2016, she ran for state Assembly against Marc Berman in a tight race that split the Democratic establishment. Berman, who prevailed with 53% of the vote, is now among the local and state officials who are endorsing Veenker's council bid.

More recently, she worked with health policy leaders in Sacramento on a health care affordability bill that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law this year. She also worked with city officials in Palo Alto and Bloomington, Indiana, on a "sibling city" partnership that the two municipalities approved last year.

"Palo Alto's extraordinary residents, tradition of innovation and physical beauty are the making of a vibrant and successful community," Veenker said. "Too often, our city is mired in disagreement that gets in the way. I am running to bridge our divides and unleash Palo Alto's potential."

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If elected, she said her priorities would include meeting the city's housing needs, fighting climate change and revitalizing the local economy. On housing, she said she would like to help facilitate a community discussion on the best way to add residences, a goal that has become more urgent over the past year because of state mandates. Under the Regional Housing Needs Assessment process, the city is required to plan for 6,086 new dwellings by 2031.

"I believe we're in a unique moment in the housing conversation where we can reset and come together on how to meet our needs because now the law requires it," Veenker said in an interview. "So let's figure out how to do it."

She also said she would like to accelerate local programs to convert residents to clean electricity and to make electric-vehicle chargers more readily available. She also wants to work with economic development experts to come up with the best ways to boost the local economy and increase revenues. She supports the city's current effort to explore a new business tax, which the council is preparing to place on the November ballot.

"It's been under discussion for a long time," Veenker said. "I think we need to join the other cities on the Peninsula to have one."

Veenker has already secured endorsements from some of the Peninsula's leading Democrats, including Rep. Anna Eshoo, state Sen. Josh Becker and Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian. She also has the backing of former mayors Lanie Wheeler, Larry Klein and Karen Holman, as well as current Mayor Pat Burt and council member Tom DuBois.

"Vicki has the vision and skills that we need for today's challenges," Burt said in a statement. "Her exceptional ability to build bridges and problem solve will be invaluable in making real progress on our housing, economic recovery, and climate protection priorities."

Veenker is looking to fill seats that will open up at the end of the year when DuBois and council member Eric Filseth term out. Council member Alison Cormack is set to complete her first term and has opted not to run for reelection.

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Gennady Sheyner
 
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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Vicki Veenker launches campaign for City Council

Local attorney, mediator looks to focus on housing, climate change

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Jul 20, 2022, 3:26 pm

Vicki Veenker, a local attorney and mediator who recently launched the Sibling Cities USA program to create partnerships between cities in different regions of the country, announced Wednesday that she is planning to run for a seat on the Palo Alto City Council.

With the announcement, Veenker became the fourth candidate to enter the race for the three seats that will open up at the end of this year. Ed Lauing, chair of the Planning and Transportation Commission, Hope Lancero, a medical researcher at Stanford University, and Lisa Forssell, a member of the city's Utilities Advisory Commission, also said they will seek council seats this fall.

A patent attorney who spent nearly 20 years as director of the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley and who helped launch the Women's Professional Soccer, Veenker isn't entirely new to local or state politics. In 2016, she ran for state Assembly against Marc Berman in a tight race that split the Democratic establishment. Berman, who prevailed with 53% of the vote, is now among the local and state officials who are endorsing Veenker's council bid.

More recently, she worked with health policy leaders in Sacramento on a health care affordability bill that Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law this year. She also worked with city officials in Palo Alto and Bloomington, Indiana, on a "sibling city" partnership that the two municipalities approved last year.

"Palo Alto's extraordinary residents, tradition of innovation and physical beauty are the making of a vibrant and successful community," Veenker said. "Too often, our city is mired in disagreement that gets in the way. I am running to bridge our divides and unleash Palo Alto's potential."

If elected, she said her priorities would include meeting the city's housing needs, fighting climate change and revitalizing the local economy. On housing, she said she would like to help facilitate a community discussion on the best way to add residences, a goal that has become more urgent over the past year because of state mandates. Under the Regional Housing Needs Assessment process, the city is required to plan for 6,086 new dwellings by 2031.

"I believe we're in a unique moment in the housing conversation where we can reset and come together on how to meet our needs because now the law requires it," Veenker said in an interview. "So let's figure out how to do it."

She also said she would like to accelerate local programs to convert residents to clean electricity and to make electric-vehicle chargers more readily available. She also wants to work with economic development experts to come up with the best ways to boost the local economy and increase revenues. She supports the city's current effort to explore a new business tax, which the council is preparing to place on the November ballot.

"It's been under discussion for a long time," Veenker said. "I think we need to join the other cities on the Peninsula to have one."

Veenker has already secured endorsements from some of the Peninsula's leading Democrats, including Rep. Anna Eshoo, state Sen. Josh Becker and Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian. She also has the backing of former mayors Lanie Wheeler, Larry Klein and Karen Holman, as well as current Mayor Pat Burt and council member Tom DuBois.

"Vicki has the vision and skills that we need for today's challenges," Burt said in a statement. "Her exceptional ability to build bridges and problem solve will be invaluable in making real progress on our housing, economic recovery, and climate protection priorities."

Veenker is looking to fill seats that will open up at the end of the year when DuBois and council member Eric Filseth term out. Council member Alison Cormack is set to complete her first term and has opted not to run for reelection.

Comments

felix
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 20, 2022 at 4:13 pm
felix, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jul 20, 2022 at 4:13 pm

Excellent. I was hoping she would throw her hat in, as I was when Ed Lauing did so.

Veenker’s resume is slam dunk impressive as a leader and thinker. Her analytical skills will be in demand with the loss of Filseth and DuBois.

That she served for years as Board chair of the Silicon Valley Law Foundation reflects the finest Palo Alto values.

Vicki is exactly who I want to be making policy on Council for us.


PaloAltoVoter
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Jul 20, 2022 at 4:23 pm
PaloAltoVoter, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Jul 20, 2022 at 4:23 pm

Very glad to see this announcement! Ms. Veenker was a strong candidate a few years back and seems to be the thoughtful kind of leader we need. Hopefully she will remain focused locally on Palo Alto - I think she will. She's a long time resident and knows our city well.


Brian C
Registered user
Midtown
on Jul 20, 2022 at 6:00 pm
Brian C, Midtown
Registered user
on Jul 20, 2022 at 6:00 pm

Very happy to see this announcement. I have known Vicki for many years. She is and will be a dedicated public servant.


KJ
Registered user
Charleston Meadows
on Jul 20, 2022 at 7:50 pm
KJ, Charleston Meadows
Registered user
on Jul 20, 2022 at 7:50 pm

This is very good news for Palo Alto. Vicki is both very intelligent and thoughtful.

It will be difficult to replace DuBois and Filseth, but both Vicki Veenker and Ed Lauing have the abilities to be excellent Council members!


Consider Your Options.
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 21, 2022 at 11:19 am
Consider Your Options. , Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jul 21, 2022 at 11:19 am

Now the field is looking pretty good. Three seats are open. There are now at least three candidates who have high integrity, knowledge of our community, and enough government/policy experience to be effective. That's good.


SteveDabrowski
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 23, 2022 at 4:39 pm
SteveDabrowski, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Jul 23, 2022 at 4:39 pm

Well she has all the credentials for a stealth "build baby build" candidate. Thinks we should figure out how to meet the housing mandates rather than fight them, wants to maintain a civil "lets all just get along" tone to the council, and she has all the usual suspects recommending her from the Santa Clara County Democrats-Berman, Becker, Speer, Eshoo, Simitian...! Sounds just like Cormack and Corey Whatshisname (I've already forgotten it).

The recommendations alone spell a no vote to me.


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