Election season is in full swing across Palo Alto, where campaign signs are becoming more noticeable across town.
To assist local voters in their decision at the ballot box, the Weekly asked this year's seven City Council candidates to fill out questionnaires about their qualifications, vision for the city and priorities if elected. They also explained where they stand on housing, climate change, rail crossings and policing and crime, among other topics.
The candidates' answers on all these topics will be published as separate articles, one per day, through Sept. 19. Here's what they had to say to the following question: Why are you better qualified than the others to serve on the City Council?
I love Palo Alto and believe that my skills, work ethic, and common sense would contribute to our community decisions, enhance the quality of life for residents, and create a new sense of community in our world-class city.
My Profile: Father; Small Business Owner; Palo Alto Resident since 2010; Immigrant; Raised by Single Mom; Avid Athlete; 25 Years of Corporate and Real Estate Experience; Two Kids in Palo Alto Public Schools; Non-Partisan Focus; Bridge Builder; Trustworthy; Competent; Collaborative; Committed.
A vast majority of the issues brought to the City Council are land use-related. Therefore, any person in charge of hiring/selecting city council members — especially since we have the housing element on our plate — should look into hiring someone with real estate and/or development expertise. If you were to hire a math tutor for your kid, would you hire a writer, an interior designer, a judge, or would you hire someone that was involved in math tutoring in the past?
The future of Palo Alto really is at stake here, so Palo Alto voters need to look into selecting the best person for this job using that same logic — especially considering we don't have a real estate development office within our City Hall. Now more than ever, we need in-house real estate expertise.
I am here to serve the community, and my endorsers are mainly community members and/or local, family-based businesses. My campaign is being run by a young team, on a small budget, with in-house expertise, but we are passionate about it and getting incredible results.
I believe the Palo Alto City Council will benefit from a different mix of talent and a new, proactive approach that entails firm leadership, energy, and a commitment to nonpartisanship, Thank you.
I have served on the Utilities Advisory Commission (UAC) for six years, including two as chair. While on the UAC I have advised on the City's electricity, gas, and water supply projects, as well as electric vehicle, water recycling, and climate change mitigation programs. I am an advocate for sustainability, renewable energy projects, EV charging access in multifamily and public spaces, local grid modernization and proper carbon accounting to guide sound decision making. As a member of the Utilities Budget Subcommittee, I provided oversight over the $300+ million utilities budget.
I have over 20 years of experience (and 15 film credits) in creative, technical, supervisory and senior management roles, first at Pixar Animation Studios and currently at Apple. I have a reputation for interdisciplinary, cross-functional teamwork, pulling together people with disparate views, skills, and backgrounds to find a path forward to a common goal.
I have three PAUSD kids and I have served on the PTA Executive Boards at Walter Hays, Duveneck, and Greene. I have an MBA, an MS in Environment & Resources, and an MS in Computer Science, all from Stanford. My roots in the community, my commission leadership, my budget experience, my business, technology, and creative experience, my history of sustainability advocacy, and my track record of getting things done in all of these contexts make me qualified and excited for city council service.
I am the only candidate that was born and raised in Palo Alto. Palo Alto isn't just a city to me; Palo Alto is my home.
I believe that this gives me a unique perspective which is absolutely critical for the City Council.
I am a proven leader in the Palo Alto community with almost 13 consecutive years of city government service — and results — for our residents. My breadth of local experience and achievements span practically every category of our community priorities: parks and open space, housing, zoning and land use, renter protections, traffic and parking mitigation, safe bike and pedestrian infrastructure, sustainability, retail support, community amenities, and many more.
I know how the city works and have demonstrated success getting things done. My contributions have earned me a reputation among residents, colleagues, staff, and council members alike for evaluating all perspectives and doing my homework to bring a reasoned and collegial approach to deliberations. I focus on sensible solutions.
Public service to Palo Alto and the region has been a core value for me for decades. In addition to my work as a three-time CEO of tech start-ups and current executive recruiter, I have volunteered countless hours as:
• Current Co-Chair of the city's Housing Element Working Group
• Current & former Chair of the Planning and Transportation Commission (2 terms; 5+ years)
• 3-time Chair of the Parks and Recreation Commission (2 terms; 7 years)
• Board Member and Finance Chair of InnVision/Life Moves for homeless support
• Board Member and VP at Congregation Beth Am for social action on housing and hunger
• President, Palo Alto Babe Ruth - Regional Baseball League
• Rotary Club committees - vocational student grants; non-profit organization grants.
I urge voters to compare my breadth of experience, commitment, and track record in Palo Alto to those of other candidates.
I can be effective day one as a Council Member as we tackle the very difficult issues ahead for our city.
As a Palo Alto resident of over twenty years who is an outsider to city leadership, I bring a fresh perspective to addressing our city's ongoing challenges.
My experiences as a Harvard-educated lawyer, dean at Stanford, and board member on over a dozen non-profit boards in our city and elsewhere (such as Palo Alto's YWCA of the MidPeninsula; PiE Advisory Board; LeanIn.org; and Challenge Success; and East Palo Alto's Foundation for a College Education) taught me how to ask the right questions at the right time, and convene inclusive processes to reach visionary and actionable solutions. As an author of bestselling nonfiction books on human development, I've developed a reputation locally, regionally, and nationally for speaking frankly about challenges and for galvanizing communities to pivot in a new direction. As a Gunn mom I know the challenges our youth face in growing up
in a community with high demands and expectations and have a track record of motivating educators and parents to create more supportive environments for youth. As a person of color who is also queer, I know how critical it is that we seek to understand the experience of all Palo Altans, not just those in the majority. I'm a connector and a collaborator, and over a thirty-year career spanning multiple sectors I've developed a trusted network of thought leaders in myriad industries and communities to whom I can turn for perspective and to ensure that I come to the most informed conclusions.
I admire a number of my fellow candidates; that said, in the aggregate, the foregoing characteristics are what set me apart from all of them.
With more than 15 years of service to Palo Alto. I have gained both deep and broad experience working on a wide range of issues with residents, city staff, local businesses, boards and commissions, and the City Council. This experience is well beyond that of any other candidate. I will immediately be an effective council member.
My service began as a member, then president, of my neighborhood association working to create a parking permit program and a traffic calming program. I served as the resident representative on the advisory group for improving the department where residents and contractors go to get plans reviewed and permits issued. As the resident representative in a group composed largely of those in the building industries and large property owners, I ensured the recommendations of the group included the interests of residents and not just the building industry and large property owners.
I was appointed to the committee that developed strategic plans for the North Ventura neighborhood. I served on the committee that developed the strategic plan for all of Palo Alto through 2030 – the Comprehensive Plan. There I worked hard to make sure that ideas and concerns of Palo Alto residents were incorporated into the final recommendations.
I was appointed by the City Council to the Planning and Transportation Commission. It reviews projects for their adherence to city rules, and it reviews policies regarding land use and transportation and makes recommendations to the City Council. I have served for almost six years, currently as vice-chair. I ensure that residents' inputs, perspectives and priorities are incorporated into our recommendations to City Council.
My valuable experience working with residents, Palo Alto city staff, local businesses, boards and commissions, and City Council means that I will be an effective council member from day one.
I have called Palo Alto home for 30 years and bring a long history of community service, professional experience, and a record of innovation and bridge building unique among the candidates.
Decades in the Community
* For 19 years, my husband and I had children in the Palo Alto public schools.
* For 10 years, my parents were in senior residences in the city.
* Over the last 30 years, I helped provide food, clothing and shelter for the unhoused through the Food Closet and Hotel de Zink
* For 20 years, I served on the Board of the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley which provides access to justice for underserved communities, including the five years we represented the residents of the Buena Vista mobile home park.
* I founded Sibling Cities USA, a nonprofit that bridges our country's regional divides by developing relationships between city pairs, and worked with the Palo Alto Council to launch the first-ever Sibling Cities partnership with Bloomington, Indiana; the two cities have shared best practices regarding destination marketing, public art, parks, economic development, and more.
Decades in Law and Mediation
My skills as a professional mediator are unique among this cohort of candidates. I have a track record of building consensus on tough issues. As a Director at Convergence Center for Policy Resolution, I convened Sacramento policy leaders to create a plan to rein in escalating healthcare costs that became law this year. For 16 years, I've served as a mediator for the federal courts and the US International Trade Commission.
I've worked with innovators in the practice of patent law for 34 years at national, international, and (now) my own firms. I also co-founded Women's Professional Soccer and served as its General Counsel in order to give extraordinary women athletes a league of their own.