Progress on school reforms
From term limits to a new seating chart, school board eyes improved governance
February 23, 2018 |
The Palo Alto Board of Education is looking to implement changes that could significantly improve district decision-making and create a predictable flow of new perspectives and ideas.
Missing a housing opportunity
Council prematurely nixes what may be the best way to create real affordable housing
February 16, 2018 |
The single greatest obstacle to creating additional housing in Palo Alto for anyone other than highly paid professionals is the high cost of land.
with PCs, it's complicated
Legal stand-off on Edgewood Plaza is another reason why 'planned community' zone shouldn't exist
February 2, 2018 |
It would be smart for Sand Hill Properties to settle its dispute with Palo Alto over Edgewood Plaza at a price that provides substantial compensation to the city.
Caution on teacher housing
Simitian vision for subsidized teacher housing has long road to travel
January 26, 2018 |
The value of teachers living within the community may very well be worth making it the priority, but the public deserves a lot more analysis showing such a plan will actually result in the desired outcome.
Eight is enough
This fall is the ideal time to submit school-board term-limit measure to voters
January 19, 2018 |
The Palo Alto school district has a rare opportunity to put a term limit measure on this November's ballot without it being personal or affecting any of its "young" members.
new year, new mayor
An elephant lurks during City Council election of new officers
January 12, 2018 |
The surprise, if one can call it that, wasn't the unanimous election Monday night of Liz Kniss as mayor of Palo Alto for the third time, it was the choice for vice mayor and commentary on the ongoing investigation into Kniss' reporting of 2016 campaign donations.
A 'force for good'
First-time donors give $25K to holiday-giving campaign
December 15, 2017 |
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The Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund received an unsolicited and completely unexpected check for $25,000 from a first-time donor.
The risks of secrecy
School board splits on whether and how to accept large anonymous donations
December 8, 2017 |
A new policy at the Palo Alto Unified is a clever attempt to appear to construct safeguards against improper influence of anonymous donors, but in fact would likely lead to rumors, suspicions and controversy.
Stanford's ambitious GUP
Proposal rekindles old issues of housing, transportation and 'build-out'
December 1, 2017 |
The community is awakening to the need to carefully scrutinize Stanford's expansion plan to build another 2.275 million square feet of new academic facilities and 3,150 housing units.
Give for the kids
Contributions to the Weekly's 25th Holiday Fund will be doubled
November 17, 2017 |
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The Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund, now in its 25th year, provides a grassroots opportunity for a community member to make a donation and know that it will combined with hundreds of others.
Home stretch for Comp Plan
More than a decade in the making, updated long-range plan nears finish line
November 3, 2017 |
The vision document for city decisions over at least the next 12 years, now in its final phase of City Council review, is almost twice as good as the one it will replace.
Targeting parent civility
Union pushes for civility policy for parent problems it won't quantify or detail
October 27, 2017 |
If the teachers' union truly believes abusive parent behavior is a problem, then it should come forward with a written proposal and evidence.
Irrationality on marijuana
We voted overwhelmingly to legalize it, but ambivalent city officials still push back
October 20, 2017 |
In a community that passed Proposition 64, legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, city officials are recommending a policy that prohibits even a single highly regulated retail dispensary from operating here.
Our reporting on arrests
Why we're changing our policies on publishing the names of those arrested
October 13, 2017 |
We think the media has a responsibility to regularly look at the consequences of its editorial practices and to modify them as circumstances change.
Next steps for school district
School board must focus on prioritizing the district's critical needs
September 29, 2017 |
The school board now has an enormous opportunity to not only select the district's next leader but to examine what is organizationally needed to shift away from a culture of secretiveness.
Déjà vu for school district
New independent investigation reveals systemic failures, administrative disarray
September 22, 2017 |
Another disturbing portrait emerged this week of a school district still confused about its legal obligations in handling sexual-harassment complaints
Our right to know
School board members need to disclose their views on McGee's future
September 15, 2017 |
A round of public apologies Tuesday night by Palo Alto school board members and Superintendent Max McGee for a blunder that will cost the district approximately $6 million fell far short of what the community deserves.
The shriveling office cap
Council's split over office cap will surely return as an election issue next year
September 8, 2017 |
The irony and hypocrisy of the city's office cap is that the same City Council majority that voted Tuesday to make more commercial development easier has been advocating repeatedly for more housing.
Time for McGee to go
School superintendent's latest blunder is the final straw
September 1, 2017 |
The revelation that top Palo Alto school district administrators never took the necessary steps to reopen negotiations with the district's two unions is a shocking display of incompetence and negligence.
Judge Persky's misjudgment
With dubious legal challenge, Brock Turner judge seeks to derail his recall election
August 18, 2017 |
Regardless of whether one believes Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky should be removed from office because of his past sentencing decisions in sexual assault cases, he won't be helped by his shady legal maneuver last week.
Buena Vista's finish line
After years of struggle, mobile home park will quietly become publicly owned
August 11, 2017 |
In less than a month, Palo Alto's most well-known and debated housing for low-income families will be officially saved from closure and redevelopment.
Serious or mollifying?
FAA report raises hopes on airplane-noise reduction, but with a long and uncertain time table
August 4, 2017 |
A long-awaited Federal Aviation Administration response to recommendations made by a "select" committee of elected officials suggest an acknowledgment by the FAA that the South Bay's air traffic noise problems are real and can't be ignored.
Facebook's proposed 'village'
Massive development proposal will only worsen housing, transportation problems
July 14, 2017 |
It's hard to imagine a better example of how messed up our region's planning processes and development policies are than Facebook's latest proposal.
The war on cars
Palo Alto stays the course on bold paradigm shift on parking and transportation
June 30, 2017 |
There is uniform agreement that transportation management needs to be the city's top priority. The new parking and trip-reduction measures being implemented are important steps forward.
The cannabis contradiction
Voters declared pot legal, but city officials seek to limit state law's impact — because they can
June 23, 2017 |
The community's strong support of Proposition 64 should prompt the city to actively work to implement the law rather than block it and to resolve any concerns as soon as possible.
Castilleja's unwise stubbornness
Without a new approach, expansion plan may become a political Armageddon
June 16, 2017 |
Castilleja School is doggedly pursuing a major expansion plan that is alienating the very neighbors whose support it needs to head off a contentious community-wide controversy.
The sex-ed tumult
Updated school curriculum and process for adopting it draw fire
June 9, 2017 |
There are far too many important issues facing our school district than to go through the motions of a review process for 10 hours of sex-education curriculum.
A moment of truth
School board faces critical leadership test over sexual assault revelations
May 26, 2017 |
Unfortunately, many parents still do not understand that the school district's obligation to investigate reports of sexual assault applies regardless of whether an incident was initially viewed as consensual or an assault.
Beyond weighted GPAs
As school board relents to parent pressure, a deeper look at school philosophy is needed
May 12, 2017 |
The Palo Alto school board succumbed Tuesday night to relentless pressure from a well-organized group and unanimously approved the reporting of weighted GPAs on the official high school transcripts of graduating seniors.
A council adrift
Bizarre and poorly conceived 'symbolic' proposals are wasting time and disrespecting the public process
May 5, 2017 |
The erratic behavior of three Palo Alto city council members is beginning to become a tiring pattern seemingly more designed to stir up controversy and stake out a political philosophy.
Resisting Donald Trump
In the wake of a disturbingly chaotic presidency, two local initiatives seek to blunt its harm
April 28, 2017 |
President Donald Trump's first hundred days of the new administration comes to a close Saturday with an unprecedented 61 percent of Americans believing that the president is not trustworthy.
Misguided attempt to save money
Nonprofit pulls out of school district mental health services bid process
April 14, 2017 |
A decision by Palo Alto Unified School District Superintendent Max McGee to seek formal competitive proposals for mental health services at its five secondary schools erupted in controversy this week as the district's current and longest-running partner announced it would not apply.
Return of the parking meter
Palo Alto considers shifting to paid parking on downtown streets, lots and garages
April 7, 2017 |
Under a proposed downtown parking system, more short-term parking will become available as all-day parkers will have financial incentives to either find alternative ways of getting to work or migrate to less expensive parking garages.
A failure to communicate
Rushed implementation of the new residential permit-parking program will have both residents, employees in for some big surprises once enforcement begins
March 24, 2017 |
The city's voicemail box for questions is full and unable to take additional messages. Emailed questions go unanswered. A website is nearly impossible to navigate. A complicated and poorly explained process for getting permits leaves people confused and frustrated.
Admitting its January 'irrationality,' council backtracks on Comp Plan
March 24, 2017 |
Faced with a strong backlash from residents across Palo Alto's political spectrum and angry colleagues who felt disrespected, the City Council majority that had in January abruptly voted to remove the implementing programs from the draft revision to the Comprehensive Plan reversed course with a do-over Monday night.
A necessary investigation
State opens inquiries into Kniss and Tanaka campaign practices
March 17, 2017 |
State and federal campaign laws have long been rooted in the principle that the transparency of campaign contributions is the most effective way to discourage and expose special interests attempting to influence elections and public policy.
Well-intentioned campaign to rename Jordan, Terman has divided community
March 10, 2017 |
Over the past year a highly motivated group of Palo Alto parents has waged a campaign to rename Jordan and Terman middle schools because their namesakes, David Starr Jordan and Lewis Terman were proponents of eugenics.
Renew stormwater fee
A wet winter should help with passage of fee to continue important upgrades
March 3, 2017 |
A proposed increase to the stormwater maintenance fee is not onerous to improve the system and to reduce flooding risk, and it is appropriately borne by property owners.
Rescind, replace and approve
It's finally time for school district to take responsibility for past missteps with OCR
February 24, 2017 |
The Palo Alto Board of Education will make two important decisions next Tuesday night, and both will say a lot about what kind of district we are and the values of our current five trustees.
The retail quandary
Vibrant retail districts can't be achieved or maintained by ordinance alone
February 10, 2017 |
In an era of increasing challenges for small-business owners, creating successful retail environments has been shown to be more art than science.
A reckless majority
In stunning surprise, new council majority upends planning process
February 3, 2017 |
The five members who make up the new, more development-friendly majority on the Palo Alto City Council blatantly stuck it to their four colleagues and the community Monday night with what appeared to be a carefully orchestrated take-over of the critical land-use portion of the new Comprehensive Plan.
Toward a mea culpa
New school board majority opts for more humble, collaborative course with Office for Civil Rights
January 27, 2017 |
It has taken two Palo Alto Board of Education elections and the replacement of four out of five trustees, a new Superintendent and a new law firm, but the majority of the school board is finally ready to lead us out of an expensive and unnecessary five-year battle with the federal Department of Education.
A new parking mess?
Proposed parking program for Cal Ave neighborhoods needs fine-tuning or it will fail
January 20, 2017 |
The debate over who should be entitled to park in residential neighborhoods adjacent to business districts will be renewed Monday night.
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