News

Investigative report finds Valley Water director bullied staff

Incumbent candidate Gary Kremen did not sexually harass a staffer, report found

A summary investigative report into the alleged misconduct of Santa Clara Valley Water District Director Gary Kremen absolved him of sexual harassment but did find evidence of bullying.

Gary Kremen, Santa Clara Valley Water District board member. Courtesy Gary Kremen.

Kremen, an incumbent who is running for reelection on Nov. 8, was accused of sexual harassment by a former campaign staffer during his campaign for county assessor and dropped out of that race in February. Kremen has said he accidentally left a few photographs of himself and his partner in bed while she was breastfeeding in a large Dropbox cache of campaign photos, which the staffer viewed.

In March, he temporarily stepped back as the water board's chair and requested an independent investigation of the allegations by the Board Ethics and Conduct Ad Hoc Committee.

Sierra Club members also accused Kremen in a letter of "disrespectful treatment toward environmental advocates," allegations that became part of the query.

The committee retained attorney Jenica Maldonado of the Renne Public Law Group to conduct the investigation. She was tasked with looking into whether Kremen violated any Valley Water policies regarding sexual harassment and treatment of members of the public at meetings.

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The ethics committee also received multiple written complaints concerning Kremen from district employees. Two of those accused him of using his power as a board member inappropriately. None of the complaints accused Kremen of sexual harassment, the ethics committee executive summary noted. The report was presented to the full board on Oct. 24.

Investigators interviewed 50 witnesses between May and October, including Chief Executive Officer Rick Callender, Assistant Chief Executive Officer Melanie Richardson, employees, members of the public and Kremen. The investigation also reviewed video and audio footage from district board and subcommittee meetings, plus agendas, minutes and board packets and other communications.

The investigation confirmed seven out of 21 allegations, in whole or part, relating to abuses of district employees that violated Valley Water's Board Governance Policies that included prohibitory language.

As examples, witnesses alleged that Kremen bullied a manager in the Raw Water Division during a nonpublic Zoom meeting in June 2021. Kremen allegedly expressed irritation that the materials presented to the board hadn't included changes he had earlier suggested. He stated he thought the omissions were willful and implied that the manager had been insubordinate or was defying him.

Kremen also allegedly stated that he intended to speak with Executive Officer Callender about pulling staff off projects if they wouldn't listen to him. Witnesses and the manager perceived it as a direct attack on the manager, who was allegedly brought to tears.

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The investigation determined that Kremen had engaged in abusive behavior toward the manager in the presence of coworkers and made a personal and abusive charge against the character of the manager.

In another incident, witnesses said Kremen bullied a member of the External Affairs Division in spring 2020. Following a virtual "tour" with government representatives located in Washington, D.C., Kremen contacted the employee and allegedly laid into the employee because he was unhappy about the tour. He allegedly called them incompetent and told them that if they could not perform the job competently, then maybe someone else should.

The interaction allegedly brought the employee to tears and it was reported to Callender, who reportedly admonished Kremen for his conduct. The employee confronted Kremen regarding the incident several weeks later, and Kremen apologized profusely, the report found.

A member of the Financial Planning and Management Division alleged that he had several private conversations with Kremen about accounting requirements for the district's financial statements. During one of those conversations in July 2020, Kremen allegedly informed the employee that he wanted the District's Annual Comprehensive Financial Report (ACFR) to present financial statements "the way they're presented in a private company's financial report" and told the employee, "Don't tell me government GAAP is the reason why you can't do that because I don't give a f---."

"Callender recalled discussing Kremen's use of profanity with the employee but did not recall the context. Callender generally recalled, however, that Kremen had previously made comments reflecting a lack of understanding with respect to private versus public financial reporting mechanisms," the report found.

"Kremen denied proposing to the employee that the district use alternative accounting standards," the reported stated. "Kremen denied making the specific statement recalled by the witness or using profanity generally."

Investigators sustained that Kremen had violated board policy with respect to inappropriate treatment of staff and had "more likely than not" used profanity in a hostile manner towards the employee, which investigators deem to constitute abusive conduct.

The investigation did not find instances of abuse by Kremen toward the public as alleged by the Sierra Club complaints. In one instance, Kremen referred to the Sierra Club as being "well known for its ... white privilege position." While the Sierra Club said the comment was "really disrespectful" and "kind of racist."

Kremen made the statement after the public comment period of the meeting ended and did not specifically target any individual Sierra Club members.

"Kremen stated that he feels his perspective on the Sierra Club is grounded in historical fact and that he did not intend to disrespect Dawson or other people of color associated with the Sierra Club," the report stated, referring to Brandon Dawson, the director of Sierra Club California.

Gary Kremen, a Santa Clara Valley Water board member, looks at stainless steel mesh on display at the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center in San Jose on March 21, 2022. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

The report said that investigators were "troubled" by the use of racially charged language, but they did not find it abusive.

"Investigators acknowledge that Kremen's statements may have been rude, counterproductive, unprofessional and inconsistent with GP-7, the District's Values Statement, or GP-11, the Inclusion, Equal Employment Opportunity, Discrimination/Harassment Prevention, and Diversity policy.

"Nevertheless, Kremen's comments about the Sierra Club were not aimed at any particular Sierra Club members but at the organization as a whole" and weren't abusive nor an attack on character or motives, the investigation found.

In a text message response, Kremen thanked the investigative team "for completely clearing my name of any and all innuendo of sexual harassment."

"As some might recall, I requested this independent investigation and voted for such. I have always championed women's rights and civil rights and my private conduct matches my public commitment," he wrote.

He noted that "the vast majority of the complaints by a few employees and political opponents were not sustained and were found to be false by the investigators. I thank the independent investigators for their fairness and completeness, including interviewing over 50 people," he said.

"Water District employees and staff are among the best public servants around. They work hard and they get results. I have nothing but the highest respect for their diligence and effort. To any degree I have not conveyed this admiration, I will do better in the future.

"As a fighter for the interests of Palo Alto's taxpayers and water ratepayers, it is within my duties to not only question whether the mission, policies and procedures of the district are being fulfilled but to insist that the direction of the board be followed.

"In a few instances, my defense of taxpayers, ratepayers and constituents was too ardent, and I apologize. To that end, I appreciate any constructive criticism I can take from this report to be a better advocate," he said.

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Sue Dremann is a veteran journalist who joined the Palo Alto Weekly in 2001. She is a breaking news and general assignment reporter who also covers the regional environmental, health and crime beats. Read more >>

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Investigative report finds Valley Water director bullied staff

Incumbent candidate Gary Kremen did not sexually harass a staffer, report found

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Fri, Nov 4, 2022, 6:58 am
Updated: Fri, Nov 4, 2022, 10:40 am

A summary investigative report into the alleged misconduct of Santa Clara Valley Water District Director Gary Kremen absolved him of sexual harassment but did find evidence of bullying.

Kremen, an incumbent who is running for reelection on Nov. 8, was accused of sexual harassment by a former campaign staffer during his campaign for county assessor and dropped out of that race in February. Kremen has said he accidentally left a few photographs of himself and his partner in bed while she was breastfeeding in a large Dropbox cache of campaign photos, which the staffer viewed.

In March, he temporarily stepped back as the water board's chair and requested an independent investigation of the allegations by the Board Ethics and Conduct Ad Hoc Committee.

Sierra Club members also accused Kremen in a letter of "disrespectful treatment toward environmental advocates," allegations that became part of the query.

The committee retained attorney Jenica Maldonado of the Renne Public Law Group to conduct the investigation. She was tasked with looking into whether Kremen violated any Valley Water policies regarding sexual harassment and treatment of members of the public at meetings.

The ethics committee also received multiple written complaints concerning Kremen from district employees. Two of those accused him of using his power as a board member inappropriately. None of the complaints accused Kremen of sexual harassment, the ethics committee executive summary noted. The report was presented to the full board on Oct. 24.

Investigators interviewed 50 witnesses between May and October, including Chief Executive Officer Rick Callender, Assistant Chief Executive Officer Melanie Richardson, employees, members of the public and Kremen. The investigation also reviewed video and audio footage from district board and subcommittee meetings, plus agendas, minutes and board packets and other communications.

The investigation confirmed seven out of 21 allegations, in whole or part, relating to abuses of district employees that violated Valley Water's Board Governance Policies that included prohibitory language.

As examples, witnesses alleged that Kremen bullied a manager in the Raw Water Division during a nonpublic Zoom meeting in June 2021. Kremen allegedly expressed irritation that the materials presented to the board hadn't included changes he had earlier suggested. He stated he thought the omissions were willful and implied that the manager had been insubordinate or was defying him.

Kremen also allegedly stated that he intended to speak with Executive Officer Callender about pulling staff off projects if they wouldn't listen to him. Witnesses and the manager perceived it as a direct attack on the manager, who was allegedly brought to tears.

The investigation determined that Kremen had engaged in abusive behavior toward the manager in the presence of coworkers and made a personal and abusive charge against the character of the manager.

In another incident, witnesses said Kremen bullied a member of the External Affairs Division in spring 2020. Following a virtual "tour" with government representatives located in Washington, D.C., Kremen contacted the employee and allegedly laid into the employee because he was unhappy about the tour. He allegedly called them incompetent and told them that if they could not perform the job competently, then maybe someone else should.

The interaction allegedly brought the employee to tears and it was reported to Callender, who reportedly admonished Kremen for his conduct. The employee confronted Kremen regarding the incident several weeks later, and Kremen apologized profusely, the report found.

A member of the Financial Planning and Management Division alleged that he had several private conversations with Kremen about accounting requirements for the district's financial statements. During one of those conversations in July 2020, Kremen allegedly informed the employee that he wanted the District's Annual Comprehensive Financial Report (ACFR) to present financial statements "the way they're presented in a private company's financial report" and told the employee, "Don't tell me government GAAP is the reason why you can't do that because I don't give a f---."

"Callender recalled discussing Kremen's use of profanity with the employee but did not recall the context. Callender generally recalled, however, that Kremen had previously made comments reflecting a lack of understanding with respect to private versus public financial reporting mechanisms," the report found.

"Kremen denied proposing to the employee that the district use alternative accounting standards," the reported stated. "Kremen denied making the specific statement recalled by the witness or using profanity generally."

Investigators sustained that Kremen had violated board policy with respect to inappropriate treatment of staff and had "more likely than not" used profanity in a hostile manner towards the employee, which investigators deem to constitute abusive conduct.

The investigation did not find instances of abuse by Kremen toward the public as alleged by the Sierra Club complaints. In one instance, Kremen referred to the Sierra Club as being "well known for its ... white privilege position." While the Sierra Club said the comment was "really disrespectful" and "kind of racist."

Kremen made the statement after the public comment period of the meeting ended and did not specifically target any individual Sierra Club members.

"Kremen stated that he feels his perspective on the Sierra Club is grounded in historical fact and that he did not intend to disrespect Dawson or other people of color associated with the Sierra Club," the report stated, referring to Brandon Dawson, the director of Sierra Club California.

The report said that investigators were "troubled" by the use of racially charged language, but they did not find it abusive.

"Investigators acknowledge that Kremen's statements may have been rude, counterproductive, unprofessional and inconsistent with GP-7, the District's Values Statement, or GP-11, the Inclusion, Equal Employment Opportunity, Discrimination/Harassment Prevention, and Diversity policy.

"Nevertheless, Kremen's comments about the Sierra Club were not aimed at any particular Sierra Club members but at the organization as a whole" and weren't abusive nor an attack on character or motives, the investigation found.

In a text message response, Kremen thanked the investigative team "for completely clearing my name of any and all innuendo of sexual harassment."

"As some might recall, I requested this independent investigation and voted for such. I have always championed women's rights and civil rights and my private conduct matches my public commitment," he wrote.

He noted that "the vast majority of the complaints by a few employees and political opponents were not sustained and were found to be false by the investigators. I thank the independent investigators for their fairness and completeness, including interviewing over 50 people," he said.

"Water District employees and staff are among the best public servants around. They work hard and they get results. I have nothing but the highest respect for their diligence and effort. To any degree I have not conveyed this admiration, I will do better in the future.

"As a fighter for the interests of Palo Alto's taxpayers and water ratepayers, it is within my duties to not only question whether the mission, policies and procedures of the district are being fulfilled but to insist that the direction of the board be followed.

"In a few instances, my defense of taxpayers, ratepayers and constituents was too ardent, and I apologize. To that end, I appreciate any constructive criticism I can take from this report to be a better advocate," he said.

Comments

resident3
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 4, 2022 at 9:19 am
resident3, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Nov 4, 2022 at 9:19 am

“The interaction allegedly brought the employee to tears and it was reported to Callender, who reportedly admonished Kremen for his conduct. “

Kremen’s supporters like @FixtheCreek have revealed high toxicity and disdain for democracy, beyond rehabilitation.


Interested Reader
Registered user
College Terrace
on Nov 4, 2022 at 12:17 pm
Interested Reader, College Terrace
Registered user
on Nov 4, 2022 at 12:17 pm

@resident3 - You wanna talk about toxicity and disdain? Rebecca Eisenberg is openly and publicly abusive during public comment at meetings!

Just look at the Jan 25th 2021 City Council meeting at minute marker 3:25:01 Web Link where she accuses Jonathan Lait (Head of Planning for the City) of lying and says he can sue her. She calls Jonathan the piss boy for Stanford. Compares Stanford receiving gifts to mob extortion. Claims that Stanford’s action is illegal in every other city in California that is well run. (The mayor admonishes Rebecca after she speaks to be respectful of staff. )

Here's a partial transcript: "Well, thank you, Aaron, for those points and I'm happy to answer that question is that Jonathan Lait is lying. He's lying to the City Council, he's lying to the public and he's engaging in deceitful, you know, acts and if his, you know, buddy, Commissioner Alcheck comes on you can count on Alcheck to be equally dishonest. First of all, Jonathan Lait had no reason to withhold the name of the owner, Stanford University, from his report other than to hide the fact that this owner, Stanford, has been engaging in an intentional action of buying up every single college terrace home as it hits the market and I'm sure Jonathan Lait, who has been very successfully acting as the piss boy for Stanford, my alma mater, who I love but who needs to, who is, is used to hearing no from everyone else other than Palo Alto. Anyways, Jonathan Lait has withheld from you, which is very material is that this is not just some sort of one-off remodel nor is this a remodel or building that is actually going to add to the housing inventory. As you know I believe in housing inventory what Stanford has done in in College Terrace and I know they got these as a gift. But Stanford gets gifts the way that grocers pay the mob for protection. ... (there's more but ran out of space - see the video!)


Sameoldthing
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Nov 4, 2022 at 12:34 pm
Sameoldthing, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Nov 4, 2022 at 12:34 pm

He was investigated by a firm of his cronies chosing, they found he did harass people and you say she "well shucks, she is worse?" Who cares? HE was under investigation, not her. HE was found to have brought people to tears. As LaDoris Cordell said:

On October 24, 2022, following an investigation into 21
allegations of misconduct by SC Valley Water District Board
member Gary Kremen who is seeking re-election, the Renne
Public Law Group (RPG) issued its findings.
The RPG determined that Kremen verbally assaulted a
district employee, engaged in abusive conduct that included
using profanity against another employee, and threatened to
"tear up" yet another employee. Several district employees
opted to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation by
Kremen.
It is clear to anyone with an ounce of common sense that
Kremen's bullying and harassing behavior has contributed to
a hostile work environment at the district. Now, he wants to
be re-elected? Even more confounding is the fact that some
Paio Alto City Council members have endorsed Kremen. Shame on them.
I call on these elected officials to immediately withdraw their
endorsements of Kremen.
The Honorable LaDoris H. Cordell
Former Palo Alto City Council Member
Santa Clara County Superior Court
Judge (Retired)


peppered
Registered user
Community Center
on Nov 4, 2022 at 12:38 pm
peppered, Community Center
Registered user
on Nov 4, 2022 at 12:38 pm

I've worked with Gary Kremen. I would never support him. I've met Rebecca Eisenberg.
I'll be voting for her.


resident3
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 4, 2022 at 12:38 pm
resident3, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Nov 4, 2022 at 12:38 pm

@ Interested reader,

"You wanna talk about toxicity and disdain? Rebecca Eisenberg is openly and publicly abusive during public comment at meetings!"

There is a big difference between abuse of power and politics. Kremen's actions happened when he was sitting in office.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 4, 2022 at 1:24 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Nov 4, 2022 at 1:24 pm

[Portion removed.]

As for having "disdain" for Mr Lait and the Planning Dept, they are not blameless since they always seem to have their thumbs on the scale favoring development and the deep-pocketed among us like Casti. Having watched the Casti nonsense during itx 6+ painfully long years, one might "disdain" planners who failed to ask the tough questions like why should we trust Casti's traffic promising and who's going to pay for the monitoring until neighbors FINALLY forced him to address those major questions that should have been asked at the beginning.

He also wasted taxpayer dollars on the conversion of Town & Country Shopping Center to "medical/research" WITHOUT bothering to define what that meant because the landlord got Ms. Cormack to pitch his proposal just as the pandemic lockdown was ending.

Regardless of what one thinks of Ms Eisenberg and how she expresses herself, fair-minded people have to give her credit for asking many of the right questions that our "leaders" keep refusing to even address!


Jake Gittes
Registered user
Barron Park
on Nov 4, 2022 at 2:05 pm
Jake Gittes, Barron Park
Registered user
on Nov 4, 2022 at 2:05 pm

Interested Reader, more like Reader with A Personal Interest in having Gary Kremen win. Listen to people who have worked with Kremen, they are voting for Ms. Eisenberg. This whole attempt distract people from the truth, i.e. that Kremen was found to be an abusive bully, is ridiculous. I'm voting for Ms. Eisenberg


Interested Reader
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Nov 4, 2022 at 3:03 pm
Interested Reader, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Nov 4, 2022 at 3:03 pm

@resident3 - And Rebecca's comments are when she has only 2-3 minutes to address the City in public comment. Getting to the point of public insults when you have limited time is a good indicator of what she'd be like if she had full access to a microphone.

When she lost her bid for Council in 2020 - she went on a rampage making public comments starting in Jan 2021.

Here she is at a Council meeting related to the HRC on 1/19/21 at the 3:56:57 mark Web Link making comments as though there is a caste system in the City. "Here we are. A mostly lower caste group of residents pleading our case to the almost entirely dominant caste individuals that serve in elected office. This is year 2021, and it's shameful even that this is happening.”

She is completely clueless as to how to be effective and/or appropriate - and is another good indication of what she'd be like in office if elected.


Jake Gittes
Registered user
Barron Park
on Nov 4, 2022 at 5:07 pm
Jake Gittes, Barron Park
Registered user
on Nov 4, 2022 at 5:07 pm

Interested Reader, I listened to the clip you mention and Ms. Eisenberg sounds very calm. Don't we want someone who will ask all the right questions. [Portion removed.]


Patty
Registered user
Ventura
on Nov 4, 2022 at 10:24 pm
Patty, Ventura
Registered user
on Nov 4, 2022 at 10:24 pm

Eisenberg has not been endorsed by one current or recent school board or city council member. Consider her email Web Link “Dear Finance Committee and Finance Department, Ed Shikada,Tom,Greg,and Liz:I would apologize for the tone of this letter, but in truth, you deserve a scolding for your bad behavior. I watched your irresponsible actions and arrogant remarks at the Finance Committee tonight and I wonder whom you represent… Due to your poor choices, sooner or later, the city is very likely to be put in receivership. I won't be happy about that. I continue to try my hardest to help you.But how can I help a group of people who keep trying the same actions over and over again, expecting a different result?Our community deserves better than you.Happy Holidays!” And “Bad things to expect at the Palo Alto City Council Meeting: 1-25-21” Web Link Bizarrely: “5:30 Consent Calendar,Now comes the most infuriating part of a Palo Alto City Council meeting: the part of the meeting where the City Manager and City Attorney break the law every week by putting items on the consent agenda…” And “[Pat Burt has a] conflict of interest in taking over Alison Cormack’s spot on two water-related regional boards, in order to direct the Tuolumne River away from communities that need it, and towards the power plants that he has an interest in. (Yes this is true, and Pat Burt has not disputed any of it. He knows that most Palo Altans don’t care about corruption, so why hide it?)” No person has a financial interest in City of SF owned power plants on the Toulumne River and Cormack still serves on BAWSCA that oversees the water received from the Toulumne. How can anyone who aspires to public office be repeatedly so reckless, false, and defamatory?


resident3
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 4, 2022 at 10:49 pm
resident3, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Nov 4, 2022 at 10:49 pm

@Patty,

“Eisenberg has not been endorsed by one current or recent school board or city council member.”

Eisenberg is supported by Palo Alto residents as noted in a related article about money raised and she is endorsed by an impressive group of people from Valley Water district directors, to SJ Mercury news, Los Altos Town Crier.


Rebecca Eisenberg
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Nov 5, 2022 at 1:06 am
Rebecca Eisenberg, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Nov 5, 2022 at 1:06 am

Thank you resident3 ! My partial endorsements list is here: Web Link


Patty
Registered user
Ventura
on Nov 5, 2022 at 2:03 am
Patty, Ventura
Registered user
on Nov 5, 2022 at 2:03 am

@resident3 I appreciate your earnest support for your candidate but Eisenberg’s very short list is no match for Kremen’s very long list of endorsers at all levels including state, county, and city officials and four Water District Trustees to Eisenberg’s two. As Kremen says on his endorsement page, “I would not be able to do this job without the support of many of my colleagues in elected office.” And that is precisely why he has such widespread support. He understands the need to work together to get things done.

Contrast this to Eisenberg’s public comments at the city council retreat on January 30, 2021. Eisenberg seems unable to grasp what it looks like when a board or council strives to work together for the community good and she fails to grasp that purpose of the council retreat. Listen here: Web Link

“Thank you. I filled out your survey, but anyone who has taken
even just statistics 101 could tell you how flawed that survey was.

By far the biggest challenge facing the city today is the lack of
effective leadership. Everything said today has been said hundreds of thousands
of times before, yet the problems increase, not decrease. This morning you
chose to waste three hours of the community's time to walk us through a
presentation to teach you the skills that you all claimed you have already how
to lead during challenging circumstances. This by itself demonstrates a lack of
good judgment. Leadership involves courage and integrity, not top down,
totalitarianism, silencing of the community…

You lack a parliamentarian to advocate on behalf of community
interest and an ombudsperson with whom residents can complain about your own
malfeasance and corruption with a broken system. Broken results follow. Learn
to lead. Or maybe step down. Thank you for your time.”


Annette
Registered user
College Terrace
on Nov 5, 2022 at 7:13 am
Annette, College Terrace
Registered user
on Nov 5, 2022 at 7:13 am

I am wishing we had the option to cast negative votes that are deducted from a candidate's total.


Jake Gittes
Registered user
Barron Park
on Nov 5, 2022 at 10:18 am
Jake Gittes, Barron Park
Registered user
on Nov 5, 2022 at 10:18 am

Gary Kremen was found to have harassed and bullied people in his own commission. He used his power to belittle, humiliate and destroy people's self esteem. Those are the facts that have been established by a law firm that Kremen and his cronies chose. They weren't even going to release the report until it became politically untenable for them not to. These are facts. Now, he is attempting to do so here to Ms. Eisenberg.

Please don't buy into reality distortion field Kremen is trying to create. If you want to see why Kremen has so many endorsements Web Link and Web Link you will see Marc Berman $1550 this year, and multiple previous years, Josh Becker at least 4700, Evan Low, Fiona Ma and the list goes on. I ask all those that are considering the attempt to cast Ms. Eisenberg in a negative light to look into WHY people are endorsing him (money) and why there is a negative campaign against Ms. Eisenberg (i.e. there is a terrible report about Kremen in the paper), and vote for Ms. Eisenberg


Annette
Registered user
College Terrace
on Nov 5, 2022 at 7:19 pm
Annette, College Terrace
Registered user
on Nov 5, 2022 at 7:19 pm

I watch CC most weeks and Rebecca Eisenberg comments most weeks, often more than once. It is frustrating that her delivery often detracts from her message because she asks hard questions, challenges wrong doing, and makes good observations. Example: her comments about effective leadership during her Jan 30 comments to CC which Patty posted above. I agree with her that our model is broken; CC is supposed to give direction to the CM, but here the CM controls what comes before CC. And he stays apart from residents and their concerns, making himself available primarily through carefully scripted comments and reports. I'd like to see 20 minutes of each CC meeting dedicated to an "Ask the CM" session during which residents could directly address the CM. I also think Eisenberg's comment about an ombudsman is correct. We shouldn't need one, but we do. And probably will until the CM/CC dynamic is corrected.



Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 5, 2022 at 8:37 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Nov 5, 2022 at 8:37 pm

" CC is supposed to give direction to the CM, but here the CM controls what comes before CC. And he stays apart from residents and their concerns, making himself available primarily through carefully scripted comments and reports. I'd like to see 20 minutes of each CC meeting dedicated to an "Ask the CM" session during which residents could directly address the CM. I also think Eisenberg's comment about an ombudsman is correct. We shouldn't need one, but we do. And probably will until the CM/CC dynamic is corrected."

I'm in total agreement with Annette about the need for an "As the City Manager Session" because answers are long over-due when too many resident-taxpayters are being ignored because we're not considered "stakeholders" on the decision-making process.

Reporters, publishers and bloggers have all complained about the stonewalling at City Hall.
"


Palo Alto native
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Nov 6, 2022 at 6:01 am
Palo Alto native, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Nov 6, 2022 at 6:01 am

I have listened to more than a few CC Meetings. Rebecca Eisenberg has asked insightful questions and stood up for many of staff shortcomings . She has the facts and knowledge to back up her positions and has shown courage and strength in her advocacy on issues before the CC. Kremen has been shown to bully staff under him. This is unacceptable behavior from an elected official. All citizenry need to condemn this and vote him out of office. I’m voting for Rebecca Eisenberg .


PaloAltoVoter
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Nov 6, 2022 at 7:49 am
PaloAltoVoter, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Nov 6, 2022 at 7:49 am

Ms Eisenberg seems unable to make a point without attacking the personal character of those she’s trying to get to change their mind. I really hope the voters do their homework on this one. Electing Eisenberg would be a huge mistake.


StephenM
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 6, 2022 at 6:04 pm
StephenM, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Nov 6, 2022 at 6:04 pm

The back and forth name calling and innuendo is not very helpful. How about we note that we have two very qualified candidates for the position, both of whom are willing to spend a substantial amount of their time working for the public good.
We could focus on their positions on relevant issues, which as best as I can see are:
(1) Pacheco dam - Eisenberg is opposed and Kremen is in favor. Several water/fisheries folks I know, ones who are strongly conservation inclined and have decades of experience with CA water and Bay/Delta policy, think the Pacheco dam is a rare example of a dam that is worth building.
(2) The Delta tunnel: Eisenberg is opposed and Kremen is in favor. Most of the Bay/Delta science, engineering, and policy folks I know think that the tunnel is not worth the cost and may have some signficant environmental downsides. Palo Alto's involvement in this issue comes about because SCVWA (but not Palo Alto) gets State Water Project water. Kremen makes a reasonable argument that there are equity issues involved in ensuring a stable water supply, perhaps the most important reason (according to its supporters) for building the tunnel.
(3) Water reuse - both support this, although it appears that Eisenberg is a stronger proponent of doing so than is Kremen.
(4) San Francisquito Creek - I am told that Kremen has been a strong proponent for the flood control project that would include replacing the Pope-Chaucer bridge (only 25 years after the 1998 flood). I couldn't find anything to indicate Eisenberg's views on the Creek.
So how about we focus on the issues here?


Annette
Registered user
College Terrace
on Nov 6, 2022 at 9:17 pm
Annette, College Terrace
Registered user
on Nov 6, 2022 at 9:17 pm

@Stephen M - it would be nice to focus only on the issues. Unfortunately, in this race, each candidate has some serious baggage. The smart move might be to vote for neither so that whoever wins doesn't get so many votes that he or she concludes that the community isn't paying attention and deportment doesn't matter. We really should be able to expect a higher level of civility from those we elect.


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