News

No slates but plenty of affinities among Palo Alto council candidates

Campaign finance reports point to two political blocs in contest for three seats

Candidates for the Palo Alto City Council debate issues at City Hall during a Sept. 22, 2022 forum facilitated by Palo Alto Neighborhoods. Photo by Gennady Sheyner.

Check out Palo Alto Online's City Council Voter Guide for comparisons of all seven candidates' views on housing, rail crossings, sustainability and public safety.

Each of Palo Alto's seven candidates for City Council is officially running an independent campaign and is not a party to any slate.

A look at the recent campaign finance disclosures suggests, however, that even if there are no formal slates, there are strong affinities. With some exceptions, many donors tend to float into one of two camps: one dominated by housing advocates, executives and council members who tend to support more city growth-friendly policies and another that has traditionally supported slow-growth policies and candidates affiliated with the "residentialists."

One not-a-slate group consists of Lisa Forssell, Julie Lythcott-Haims and Vicki Veenker. The other not-a-slate is composed of Ed Lauing and Doria Summa.

Candidates within each given group have received endorsements from many of the same people, have advocated for similar policies and have many of the same donors. In some cases, they have even donated to others within their affinity group. Forsell and Lythcott-Haims gave $1,000 to each other; Summa gave $500 to Lauing.

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Forssell, Lythcott-Haims and Veenker appeared, for example, at the same campaign event on Sept. 11 hosted by former Mayor Larry Klein. They rarely miss a chance to say something nice about each other, and their respective lists of campaign contributors contain some of the same names.

Council member Alison Cormack, for example, contributed $1,000 to each of them, as did local resident Susan Rosenberg. Larry Klein gave $1,038 to Lythcott-Haims and $1,000 to Veenker and Forssell. Economist Steven Levy gave $1,000 contributions to Lythcott-Haims and to Forssell and $500 to Veenker. Former Mayor Liz Kniss gave $500 contributions to Lythcott-Haims and Forssell.

Sheryl Klein, COO of Alta Housing, contributed $259 to Veenker and $250 to Forsell and to Lythcott-Haims. Resident and community activist Bruce Gee, who works as chief financial officer at Webster Financial, gave $1,000 contributions to Forssell and Veenker; former Mayor Betsy Bechtel donated $750 to Forsell and to Veenker and $779 to Lythcott-Haims. Current Mayor Pat Burt gave $500 to Veenker and to Forssell, while Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian gave $250 each to these two candidates.

When Forssell was asked during a recent interview with the Weekly whether the three candidates are running as a slate, she said they are not but noted that they share many of the same values.

"I have a lot of respect for all the candidates in the race," Forssell told the Weekly in an interview. "I really like Vicki and I really like Julie. We're not coordinating as a slate, but I think we often find that we're invited to the same things."

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Each member of this candidate trio is also all supported by an independent group called "Committee to Support Lythcott-Haims, Forssell and Veenker for Palo Alto City Council 2022." The group is funded primarily by Larry Klein and John Kelley, a housing advocate and executive at OnRisk, and it counts as its supporters school board member Jennifer DiBrienza and economist Levy. The committee recently put out a newspaper ad with the headline "Three Great Candidates" above photos of Lythcott-Haims, Forssell and Veenker.

The partnership seems to be paying off, with each of the three raising more than $30,000 as of Sept. 24, newly released campaign disclosures show.

Lythcott-Haims reported the most cash raised, with contributions totaling $69,561 as of Sept. 24. The list of people who contributed at least $1,000 to her include Brooklyn-based consultant Amy Bender, Hawaii resident Roxanne Bozdog, Woodside resident Janice Brody, Mountain View resident Raven Malone and Palo Alto residents Warren Packard, Nana Chancellor and Hilary Somers, each of whom gave $1,038.83. Venture capitalist Marc Tarpenning gave $1,000, as did Palo Alto Unified school board candidate Nicole Chiu-Wang. She also received $500 from Redwood City Mayor Giselle Hale's recently discontinued Assembly campaign and $250 from Assembly member Evan Low.

Veenker's campaign, which was fueled by donations from attorneys, executives and public officials, reported receiving $45,197. In addition to the $1,000 contributions from Larry Klein and Cormack, Veenker received $1,000 campaign donations from attorneys Brian Cannon, Stephen Hubbard, Edward Reines and Kara Reiter, among others. She also got $1,000 from Gary Kremen, a board member at Valley Water who is running for reelection.

Forssell received $37,953 as of Sept. 24 and her list of donors include Chiu-Wang, the school board candidate and Google employee, longtime proponent of municipal fiber Jeff Hoel and the Plumbers, Steamfitters and Refrigeration Fitters, Local 393. Each gave $1,000.

In the other slate-like-entity, Lauing reported $30,541 in campaign contributions by Sept. 24, while Doria Summa reported $25,595. The two candidates are, respectively, the chair and vice chair of the city's Planning and Transportation Commission and more often than not vote in a similar vein.

Both received contributions from neighborhood activists, members of Palo Alto Neighborhoods, an umbrella group of neighborhood associations, and residents associated with Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning, a political action committee that favors residentialist candidates. In past elections, PASZ supported council members Tom DuBois and Eric Filseth, both of whom are terming out this year, as well as Vice Mayor Lydia Kou and council member Greer Stone.

Joe Hirsch, one of the leaders of a 2013 referendum that defeated a housing development on Maybell Avenue, donated $1,000 to Summa and $500 to Lauing. Filseth gave $999 to each of them, while former Mayor Karen Holman and former Vice Mayor Greg Schmid contributed $100 to each. PAN leaders Sherry Furman, Annette Glanckopf and Rebecca Sanders also supported both Lauing and Summa with donations.

In addition to contributions from community leaders, Lauing received $1,000 checks from G. Leonard Baker and Mary Anne Baker, top donors to residentialist-leaning candidates in past elections. Gabrielle Layton and former city commissioner Asher Waldfogel, also major donors in prior campaigns, gave him $900 and $690, respectively. Paula Rantz and Realtor William Reller each gave $1,000.

Summa, meanwhile, received $1,000 from Kou, as well as $1,030 from attorney William Ross and $1,001 from Realtor John St. Clair, Kou's husband. Her other donors include local residents Rita Vrhel, who gave $1,250, Jeanne Fleming, who contributed $515, and Andie Reed, who contributed $300. DuBois gave $250 to Summa's campaign.

Not everyone, however, is contributing along partisan lines. Holman, for example, supported Veenker in addition to Lauing and Summa. Layton gave a $900 contribution to Lauing and $990 to Veenker. Resident Andie Reed contributed to Veenker, Lauing and Summa. And Burt, who contributed $500 to Forssell and Veenker, gave the same amount to Lauing.

Notwithstanding the overlap in donors and their mutual support from Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning, Summa said she and Lauing have not coordinated their campaigns. She did, however, consult him before joining the race. Lauing was the first person to formally enter the race while Summa was the last, filing her papers just before the deadline. She told the Weekly that before she formally entered the race, she checked with Lauing to make sure he didn't have any objections.

"That was the one person I had to check with," she said.

The only candidates who appear to be truly unaffiliated are Realtor Alex Comsa and software engineer Brian Hamachek. Each is his own biggest donor, with Comsa contributing $17,000 of his own cash to the campaign on Thursday after raising $4,200 by Sept. 24 (which includes a $2,900 loan to his own campaign).

Hamachek gave $1,500 to his campaign, campaign disclosures show, and did not report any other contributions as of Thursday afternoon.

Did you miss the Palo Alto Weekly's election forum with the seven City Council candidates? Hear them talk about what they would do if elected.

Palo Alto City Council candidates' debate, Sept. 13, 2022

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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 >>

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

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No slates but plenty of affinities among Palo Alto council candidates

Campaign finance reports point to two political blocs in contest for three seats

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, Sep 29, 2022, 9:42 pm

Check out Palo Alto Online's City Council Voter Guide for comparisons of all seven candidates' views on housing, rail crossings, sustainability and public safety.

Each of Palo Alto's seven candidates for City Council is officially running an independent campaign and is not a party to any slate.

A look at the recent campaign finance disclosures suggests, however, that even if there are no formal slates, there are strong affinities. With some exceptions, many donors tend to float into one of two camps: one dominated by housing advocates, executives and council members who tend to support more city growth-friendly policies and another that has traditionally supported slow-growth policies and candidates affiliated with the "residentialists."

One not-a-slate group consists of Lisa Forssell, Julie Lythcott-Haims and Vicki Veenker. The other not-a-slate is composed of Ed Lauing and Doria Summa.

Candidates within each given group have received endorsements from many of the same people, have advocated for similar policies and have many of the same donors. In some cases, they have even donated to others within their affinity group. Forsell and Lythcott-Haims gave $1,000 to each other; Summa gave $500 to Lauing.

Forssell, Lythcott-Haims and Veenker appeared, for example, at the same campaign event on Sept. 11 hosted by former Mayor Larry Klein. They rarely miss a chance to say something nice about each other, and their respective lists of campaign contributors contain some of the same names.

Council member Alison Cormack, for example, contributed $1,000 to each of them, as did local resident Susan Rosenberg. Larry Klein gave $1,038 to Lythcott-Haims and $1,000 to Veenker and Forssell. Economist Steven Levy gave $1,000 contributions to Lythcott-Haims and to Forssell and $500 to Veenker. Former Mayor Liz Kniss gave $500 contributions to Lythcott-Haims and Forssell.

Sheryl Klein, COO of Alta Housing, contributed $259 to Veenker and $250 to Forsell and to Lythcott-Haims. Resident and community activist Bruce Gee, who works as chief financial officer at Webster Financial, gave $1,000 contributions to Forssell and Veenker; former Mayor Betsy Bechtel donated $750 to Forsell and to Veenker and $779 to Lythcott-Haims. Current Mayor Pat Burt gave $500 to Veenker and to Forssell, while Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian gave $250 each to these two candidates.

When Forssell was asked during a recent interview with the Weekly whether the three candidates are running as a slate, she said they are not but noted that they share many of the same values.

"I have a lot of respect for all the candidates in the race," Forssell told the Weekly in an interview. "I really like Vicki and I really like Julie. We're not coordinating as a slate, but I think we often find that we're invited to the same things."

Each member of this candidate trio is also all supported by an independent group called "Committee to Support Lythcott-Haims, Forssell and Veenker for Palo Alto City Council 2022." The group is funded primarily by Larry Klein and John Kelley, a housing advocate and executive at OnRisk, and it counts as its supporters school board member Jennifer DiBrienza and economist Levy. The committee recently put out a newspaper ad with the headline "Three Great Candidates" above photos of Lythcott-Haims, Forssell and Veenker.

The partnership seems to be paying off, with each of the three raising more than $30,000 as of Sept. 24, newly released campaign disclosures show.

Lythcott-Haims reported the most cash raised, with contributions totaling $69,561 as of Sept. 24. The list of people who contributed at least $1,000 to her include Brooklyn-based consultant Amy Bender, Hawaii resident Roxanne Bozdog, Woodside resident Janice Brody, Mountain View resident Raven Malone and Palo Alto residents Warren Packard, Nana Chancellor and Hilary Somers, each of whom gave $1,038.83. Venture capitalist Marc Tarpenning gave $1,000, as did Palo Alto Unified school board candidate Nicole Chiu-Wang. She also received $500 from Redwood City Mayor Giselle Hale's recently discontinued Assembly campaign and $250 from Assembly member Evan Low.

Veenker's campaign, which was fueled by donations from attorneys, executives and public officials, reported receiving $45,197. In addition to the $1,000 contributions from Larry Klein and Cormack, Veenker received $1,000 campaign donations from attorneys Brian Cannon, Stephen Hubbard, Edward Reines and Kara Reiter, among others. She also got $1,000 from Gary Kremen, a board member at Valley Water who is running for reelection.

Forssell received $37,953 as of Sept. 24 and her list of donors include Chiu-Wang, the school board candidate and Google employee, longtime proponent of municipal fiber Jeff Hoel and the Plumbers, Steamfitters and Refrigeration Fitters, Local 393. Each gave $1,000.

In the other slate-like-entity, Lauing reported $30,541 in campaign contributions by Sept. 24, while Doria Summa reported $25,595. The two candidates are, respectively, the chair and vice chair of the city's Planning and Transportation Commission and more often than not vote in a similar vein.

Both received contributions from neighborhood activists, members of Palo Alto Neighborhoods, an umbrella group of neighborhood associations, and residents associated with Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning, a political action committee that favors residentialist candidates. In past elections, PASZ supported council members Tom DuBois and Eric Filseth, both of whom are terming out this year, as well as Vice Mayor Lydia Kou and council member Greer Stone.

Joe Hirsch, one of the leaders of a 2013 referendum that defeated a housing development on Maybell Avenue, donated $1,000 to Summa and $500 to Lauing. Filseth gave $999 to each of them, while former Mayor Karen Holman and former Vice Mayor Greg Schmid contributed $100 to each. PAN leaders Sherry Furman, Annette Glanckopf and Rebecca Sanders also supported both Lauing and Summa with donations.

In addition to contributions from community leaders, Lauing received $1,000 checks from G. Leonard Baker and Mary Anne Baker, top donors to residentialist-leaning candidates in past elections. Gabrielle Layton and former city commissioner Asher Waldfogel, also major donors in prior campaigns, gave him $900 and $690, respectively. Paula Rantz and Realtor William Reller each gave $1,000.

Summa, meanwhile, received $1,000 from Kou, as well as $1,030 from attorney William Ross and $1,001 from Realtor John St. Clair, Kou's husband. Her other donors include local residents Rita Vrhel, who gave $1,250, Jeanne Fleming, who contributed $515, and Andie Reed, who contributed $300. DuBois gave $250 to Summa's campaign.

Not everyone, however, is contributing along partisan lines. Holman, for example, supported Veenker in addition to Lauing and Summa. Layton gave a $900 contribution to Lauing and $990 to Veenker. Resident Andie Reed contributed to Veenker, Lauing and Summa. And Burt, who contributed $500 to Forssell and Veenker, gave the same amount to Lauing.

Notwithstanding the overlap in donors and their mutual support from Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning, Summa said she and Lauing have not coordinated their campaigns. She did, however, consult him before joining the race. Lauing was the first person to formally enter the race while Summa was the last, filing her papers just before the deadline. She told the Weekly that before she formally entered the race, she checked with Lauing to make sure he didn't have any objections.

"That was the one person I had to check with," she said.

The only candidates who appear to be truly unaffiliated are Realtor Alex Comsa and software engineer Brian Hamachek. Each is his own biggest donor, with Comsa contributing $17,000 of his own cash to the campaign on Thursday after raising $4,200 by Sept. 24 (which includes a $2,900 loan to his own campaign).

Hamachek gave $1,500 to his campaign, campaign disclosures show, and did not report any other contributions as of Thursday afternoon.

Did you miss the Palo Alto Weekly's election forum with the seven City Council candidates? Hear them talk about what they would do if elected.

Comments

felix
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 29, 2022 at 11:20 pm
felix, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Sep 29, 2022 at 11:20 pm

Thank you for pointing out the Independent Expenditure (IE) committee money that is fueling this election with its serial ads in a local newspaper, benefitting Veenker, Forssell and Lythcott-Haims. Unfortunately one can't stop IE committees from putting their undemocratic thumb on the scale of elections.

At the LWV forum tonight, all 3 of these candidates were quick to support caps on individual campaign contributions, yet none of them admitted they were benefitting from IE money - ahhh, such a convenient omission.


[email protected]
Registered user
Esther Clark Park
on Sep 30, 2022 at 10:26 am
[email protected], Esther Clark Park
Registered user
on Sep 30, 2022 at 10:26 am

Hate to see these candidates bucketed by slate or affiliation. They aren't that far apart on major issues. We want to elect the three strongest people to make good decisions, based on whatever facts are before them, not people who are locked into preconceived positions as part of a slate.


resident3
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 30, 2022 at 10:46 am
resident3, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Sep 30, 2022 at 10:46 am

@[email protected]

"Hate to see these candidates bucketed by slate or affiliation. They aren't that far apart on major issues. We want to elect the three strongest people to make good decisions, based on whatever facts are before them, not people who are locked into preconceived positions as part of a slate."

The slate approach is actually a declaration that the person running with two others needs two other people to vote with them when making decisions. This is terrifying (with three as a bunch) because that means voters will not matter after the election when the votes are all a block or virtually guaranteed. I suggest people to be really careful about voting the 3 in a block.

Given that the 3 person slate is running on Housing, and one running alone is a realtor, we could end up with having a combo who will not need to care about what voters think after elected. The three person slate looks to have the most "big" money too and Comsa has wallpapered the City with his signs. None have much relevant experience. OUCH.

Money, slates and lack of relevant experience with a few exceptions are major risk in this election. Be cautious people!


Anon123456
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 30, 2022 at 12:01 pm
Anon123456, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Sep 30, 2022 at 12:01 pm

This is very interesting to see. While all the candidates seem to be saying similar things they think voters want to hear, two candidates (Lauing, Summa) are actually aligned with NIMBY groups.


OnlineName
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Sep 30, 2022 at 12:05 pm
OnlineName, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Sep 30, 2022 at 12:05 pm

The ads for the 3 "great candidates" keep changing who's paid for them and whether they've been approved by and/ or affiliated with the candidates. The first ones were paid for by Gail Price and Steven Levy and a few other folks and carried the tag line "and no one else" which raises red flags. Now their names have been replaced by a committee claiming no ties to the candidates.

Why the subterfuge? Who's r
eally paying for these saturationads? Which deep-pocketed lobbyists?

Maybe the 3 candidates could comment?


ALB
Registered user
College Terrace
on Sep 30, 2022 at 3:17 pm
ALB, College Terrace
Registered user
on Sep 30, 2022 at 3:17 pm

Re: the three candidates mentioned all are simpatico IMO with Palo Alto Forward and the Kniss developer crowd.
These folks want market rate housing.


Sheri
Registered user
Midtown
on Sep 30, 2022 at 4:40 pm
Sheri, Midtown
Registered user
on Sep 30, 2022 at 4:40 pm

Please note that while we (Sherry Furman, Annette Glanckopf and Rebecca Sanders) are current or past leaders of PAN, our donations do not represent that group. PAN is a networking organization and has never taken a stand on any candidate. Any support for a candidate is strictly a personal choice.


Annette
Registered user
College Terrace
on Oct 2, 2022 at 8:10 pm
Annette, College Terrace
Registered user
on Oct 2, 2022 at 8:10 pm

Of course candidates for PACC are for housing and climate change efforts. Since those are givens, I think it makes sense to look at issues that might actually differentiate the candidates. What has their civic involvement been? What are their budget priorities? How do they enumerate and prioritize Palo Alto values? What realistic ideas do they have for reducing crime? What are their thoughts on changing the charter so that we have an elected mayor? What are their thoughts on going after a relevant-to-impact business tax in 2024? How do they assess the accountability of the City Manager? Where do they stand on campaign finance reform? Keeping in mind that this a city that has cut funding for services such as libraries, are any of them willing to cap campaign spending at a set amount such as $20k?

Finally, what does each candidate think voters should value more, name recognition (often purchasable) or experience (always earned)?


tmp
Registered user
Downtown North
on Oct 2, 2022 at 8:32 pm
tmp, Downtown North
Registered user
on Oct 2, 2022 at 8:32 pm

It appears that Lauing and Summa have all Palo Alto donors and the others have many out of PA donors. Also Lauing and Summa are experienced and have served in government. It is very hard to just show up and know what is going on. Sitting on the city council for Palo Alto takes expertise and experience to understand what is allowed and what isn't. I hear candidates say "we should do X" when it would not be allowed under California law or has been examined in the past and found not feasible. Just saying they want something to happen will not make it so and that is why the less experienced candidates will go off and say they will do something, when the experienced ones will be more circumspect, because they know it may not happen.

The continued growth of housing in PA is always a hot button issue and it is amazing how the unexperienced candidates will continue to spout off about how we need more low income housing and then imply that will will come if you just allow more housing. Developers do not build low income housing -it doesn't make them money. They will maybe add a unit or two if forced to as a sop to being allowed to overbuild market rate housing, but that doesn't get you much low income housing, it is just more market rate housing.

Also I've heard the less experienced candidates talk about allowing more office space to pay for housing. That has never worked. Why do you think we have such a marked jobs to housing imbalance - because developers make more money on office space and will always want to build it. We should continue the office cap and any candidate that doesn't support that is making the jobs- housing imbalance worse.

Understanding the impacts of decisions on rail crossing, greening our energy use are complicated and need thoughtful consideration. I know that Lauing and Summa have the collegial mind set and resolve to sit thought long meetings and listen to all and make rational and thoughtful decisions.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 3, 2022 at 12:15 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Oct 3, 2022 at 12:15 am

@Annette, thanks for enumerating the questions that should be asked of the candidates, especially their priorities because we can't have everything. Instead of telling us how much they love and treasure Palo Alto, I want specifics on their plans are to ensure that Palo Alto remains worth treasuring.

Are they going to force Stanford to house their constantly growing community on THEIR campus and in Research Park instead of removing units from OUR community? They just took over 695 Oak Creek apartments on Sand Hill, a good site for DENSE development to reduce OUR targets without impacting our quality of life.

I want to know who's backing the candidates and who's buying all those ads from shadowy "Committees not connected to the candidates or their campaigns." Are those backers the same big money tech executives who keep pushing for tall dense housing projects in every neighborhood and backyard EXCEPT their own?

Even the national business press covered the hypocrisy of Atherton resident VC Mark Andreesen and his wife funding laws /candidates pushing density BUT oppoasing the multi-family homes were proposed near their $16M mansion. They had no comment on why they're willing to fund the destruction of OUR neighborhoods.


Chris C.
Registered user
Community Center
on Oct 3, 2022 at 6:47 am
Chris C., Community Center
Registered user
on Oct 3, 2022 at 6:47 am

I've noticed that some candidates have FPPC disclosures on their election materials, and others do not. Is this a simple error, or is there a difference in how these campaigns are financed that allows for this?


Annette
Registered user
College Terrace
on Oct 3, 2022 at 7:13 pm
Annette, College Terrace
Registered user
on Oct 3, 2022 at 7:13 pm

I just read today's Daily Post. Headline article: "Council race getting expensive". That is an understatement. One of the "3 great candidates" has raised $69,561. What is going on in this town? Are CC seats being bought by candidates who can buy the most name recognition? The most ads? The most shiny fliers that are ridiculously environmentally-unfriendly? And why isn't the League of Women Voters commenting on this?

Give me a candidate or three with a track record of service, votes that prove what he or she supports, and an approach to spending that is grounded in reality. Candidate spending should be capped at an agreed-upon number; let the candidates who can do the most with that money, social media, and in person stumping win. If that's too naive, let's at least eliminate donations from special committees. Why does any candidate with good qualifications and experience need a campaign war chest that exceeds the city's population?

This city has had years of governance by Councils that were representing interests other than what residents support. As a result, we have a huge jobs:housing imbalance that has given birth to numerous thorny, expensive problems, complicated other problems, and stripped away the diversity of this once quite interesting city. Ridiculous campaign spending is part of the problem.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 3, 2022 at 7:33 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Oct 3, 2022 at 7:33 pm

Thanks, Annette. Not only is it an expensive election but it's interesting to see where the money's coming from since much comes from non-Palo Alto donors as below:

As of the candidates last Form 460 filing, dated 9/24/22, Julie Lythcott-Haims, leads in fundraising, with a total of $69,547 in cash contributions. Of that, almost half , $34,178, was raised from donors outside of Palo Alto. (88 out of 171 donations, not individual donors).

Vicki Veenker is in second place. She had raised $44,884 in cash contributions. Of that, $14,650 came from individuals and organizations outside of Palo Alto. (54 out of 124 donations).

Lisa Forssell is in third. She had raised $37,719 from 85 individual donations. Of that amount, $15,930 comes from donors outside of Palo Alto. (17 out of 85).

Ed Lauing is in fourth. He had raised a total of $30,486. Of those 98 donations, only four, totaling $650, came from individuals outside of Palo Alto.

Doria Summa is in fifth. She had raised a total of $25,279 from 66 donations. Only 2 of those donations, totaling $200, came from outside of Palo Alto.

As per Alex Comsa’s form 460, he had raised a total of $1,300. All from Palo Altans.

Re large contributions:

Julie Lythcott-Haims also has the most donors of $1,000 or more. She has received a total of 31 donations of $1,000 or more. Of those donors, 18 are not Palo Altans.

Vicki Veenker received 25 donations of $1,000 or more. Of those, nine were from non-Palo Alto residents.

(To be continued in a second post.)







resident3
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2022 at 7:38 pm
resident3, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Oct 3, 2022 at 7:38 pm

@online name,

“(To be continued in a second post.)“

PAW moderator doesn’t post consecutive messages, continuations better done separately


Annette
Registered user
College Terrace
on Oct 3, 2022 at 7:46 pm
Annette, College Terrace
Registered user
on Oct 3, 2022 at 7:46 pm

I expect some outside donors. Parents, other family, friends and colleagues may live elsewhere. But donations from Palo Altans are a good indication of the depth of a candidate's local support. It's meaningless to me if Joe Smith from somewhere else supports Candidate X by donating a chunk of money to that person's campaign b/c Joe Smith from somewhere else doesn't live with - or fund - the results of CC votes. Locals do.

This article prompts me to look closely at the level of local support each candidate receives.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 3, 2022 at 7:56 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Oct 3, 2022 at 7:56 pm

@Resident3, I know. That's why I said it would be continued. So, continuing:

Lisa Forsell has 20 donors of $1,000 or more. Of those 20 donors, 9 were not Palo Alto residents. They include $1,000 from Plumbers, Steamfitters, & Refrigeration Fitters Local 393 Political Action Fund and a total of $2,000 from Menlo Park resident, Kenneth Duda and his wife Jennifer. Kenneth Duda is a major donor to California YIMBY. His contributions include $50,000 to California YIMBY Victory Fund in 2022, $39,600 in 2021, and two gifts totaling $200,000 in 2018. Duda also supports pro-housing candidates across the state.

Ed Lauing received six gifts of $1,000 all reported. All the donors are Palo Alto residents.

Doria Summa received eight gifts of $1,000 or more, all from Palo Alto residents, all reported on Form 497.

(And, Julie’s reporting in particular, has some errors. Michael Brownrigg’s name is misspelled and he’s a Burlingame resident, Dena Mossar lives in Palo Alto, not Los Altos. Both Julie and Vicki neglected to file some Form 497s.)




resident3
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2022 at 9:20 pm
resident3, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Oct 3, 2022 at 9:20 pm

@Online name

Re Lisa Forsell donors
“They include $1,000 from Plumbers, Steamfitters, & Refrigeration Fitters Local 393 Political Action Fund “

The plumbers who will profit from the City using its probably not for long “lower” financing cost to lend money to help a relatively wealthy town to electrify appliances.

This seems to be the same logic for Fiber - to use the city as a financing mule to build infrastructure to benefit businesses…because homes have no need for spending $150 million for faster internet speed.




ALB
Registered user
College Terrace
on Oct 4, 2022 at 11:55 am
ALB, College Terrace
Registered user
on Oct 4, 2022 at 11:55 am

Forssell is naive about campaigning in Palo Alto. It is customary not to take money from unions as she has done from the Plumbers, Steam Fitters, Refrigeration Fitters Local 393 Political Action Fund. The optics are not good as this candidate serves on the utilities commission. What will the union expect from her should she be elected?

Another example of naivté is stating that all gas including infrastructure must be removed immediately. She knows that our electrical grid is in dire need of upgrading.
This stance is a major turn off — stripping all gas now to many residents.

I agree with previous comments that Summa and Lauing serve residents well as public servants, do their homework, understand the complexity of city government and will not have the steep learning curve of the other candidates. Summa and Lauing are the best candidates for city council and need to be elected to serve our Palo Alto community.


PaloAltoVoter
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Oct 4, 2022 at 12:59 pm
PaloAltoVoter, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Oct 4, 2022 at 12:59 pm

Call it a slate or an affinity - same thing in my book.
Those listening closely know that Lisa and Julie are the SB9 slate. They believe the state should take away our local governance and have stated as much. Lisa has said we should build more than 6000 housing units and Julie has said housing should go everywhere including R1 neighborhoods. So if you believe in centralized state control these are your candidates.
Doria and Ed have stated they prioritize resident concerns. Ed has found locations for 6000 homes that do not impact R1 neighborhoods in his work chairing the new housing element . Doria is clear about balance and fairness of impacts - not selling our town as a commodity through developer give always. Both are strong supporters of local governance and have experience with it. So if you favor local control these are your candidates.

Doria and Ed are at 99% and 98% local donations. Speaks for itself.

Julia is at 51% local donors! Lisa is at 58% local donors! These are not local campaigns. These are well funded candidate by people outside of Palo Alto looking to change our city. Someone should analyze the donor base for connections to developers. These are people motivated by the huge profits to be made in redeveloping Palo Alto.


Anon123456
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 4, 2022 at 5:33 pm
Anon123456, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Oct 4, 2022 at 5:33 pm

My understanding was that the 6000 units are mandated, so we need to fit them in to do our part to address our housing crisis. I'd hate to see Palo Alto try to dodge it like Woodside did with their protected mountain lion habitat claim. I do think we need to address housing regionally, it does no good for one city to build housing while nearby cities do not because the need is so large.


Annette
Registered user
College Terrace
on Oct 4, 2022 at 7:40 pm
Annette, College Terrace
Registered user
on Oct 4, 2022 at 7:40 pm

As I understand the mandate, Palo Alto needs to identify where 6000 new housing units can be added. Getting them built is another issue altogether. I think housing would have been the single best use of the massive budget surplus that the Governor amassed and controlled. It's hard - make that impossible - to understand how a state with a surplus that exceeded $100 BILLION can also be a state with a massive housing and hunger problem. I'm no fan of the Trumpian right wing of the Republican Party, but super blue, Democratically-controlled CA doesn't have a single bragging right on these two issues. Someone more politically savvy than I should be able to figure out how to get our state to use its money for its intended use: the public good. Handing it out in refund checks at election time doesn't compare to providing shelter and sustenance to those that need it.

I think City Managers and Mayors all over this state should ask the State to provide money to help build the mandated housing. Identifying locations may be step 1, but housing is not going to get built without funding.


Me 2
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Oct 5, 2022 at 2:43 pm
Me 2, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Oct 5, 2022 at 2:43 pm
Gale Johnson
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 2, 2022 at 4:59 pm
Gale Johnson, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Nov 2, 2022 at 4:59 pm

@Annette: You are my favorite, sanest, and most like minded contributor. We have it ‘so together and figured out’ don’t we? That’s meant as a joke. You have asked the best and toughest questions that I’ve seen posed and posted in a long time. I’m waiting in suspense for the responses to flow in from those wolves hiding under clothes made out of fluffy cuddly lamb skins, white or black, or even ones that are biracial. I’m thinking about submitting a grant proposal to do research into whether sheep are color blind or color biased. I see too many remnants from the Liz Kniss era and her groomed protégés. We were slowly getting out of that tumultuous time of serving the interests of landowners, developers, and building contractors and I don’t want us to slip back into that hole again. I’m going with Ed, Doria, and Vicki this time around but I like the effort that Lisa is putting in and I think she shows the most promise of becoming untethered from the rest the gang on the other side. Greer Stone put in the hard work to get a seat on CC. That’s the way to go. Would you want Lady Gaga on CC?


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 2, 2022 at 5:27 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Nov 2, 2022 at 5:27 pm

"I see too many remnants from the Liz Kniss era and her groomed protégés. We were slowly getting out of that tumultuous time of serving the interests of landowners, developers, and building contractors and I don’t want us to slip back into that hole again."

Indeed. Who can forget her famous "we've got no traffic problems here" speech! Who can forget the contract she negotiated for the city manager -- the ONLY candidate interviewed!

You can still see it where her proteges never met a development project they didn't back even when it was poorly defined like the "medical/retail" conversion of Town & Country pushed by Allison Cormack!

So look at who Ms Cormack'a endorsing if you want more of the same!

And now you have Julie Lythcott-Haims saying, let's leave all the pesky details to city staff so she can focus on making the world a kinder, better place!


Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 3, 2022 at 7:06 am
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Nov 3, 2022 at 7:06 am

As rational, intelligent, Palo Alto residents, we do not need virtue telling feel good council members.

I am not a schoolkid that needs teacher to tell me to be kind. I need someone who will take charge of the failing infrastructure that I personally am not able to do much about.

Can we get our infrastructure, our power, our traffic, efficiently serving us again? Those are the issues that affect me in my daily life. That is what I want our CC to focus on.


resident3
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 3, 2022 at 10:45 am
resident3, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Nov 3, 2022 at 10:45 am

@online name,

“And now you have Julie Lythcott-Haims saying, let's leave all the pesky details to city staff so she can focus on making the world a kinder, better place!”

So - looking at how the majority of the sitting Council is treating a candidate for a regional race with very public personal attacks, I’m wondering who this community is.

Kniss was horrible but the replacements of her era may have done even worst damage with the fiasco of the business tax, focusing city time and money on things that nobody asked for like “fiber to the home” or subsidizing heat pumps for mansions. They are using their last political capital on going after a resident?

We could use kinder and better, so I won’t knock JLH for that.


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