Progress on school reforms

From term limits to a new seating chart, school board eyes improved governance
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.

February 23, 2018 | 17 comments
Missing a housing opportunity

Council prematurely nixes what may be the best way to create real affordable housing
The single greatest obstacle to creating additional housing in Palo Alto for anyone other than highly paid professionals is the high cost of land.

February 16, 2018 | 26 comments
with PCs, it's complicated

Legal stand-off on Edgewood Plaza is another reason why 'planned community' zone shouldn't exist
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.

February 2, 2018 | 24 comments
Caution on teacher housing

Simitian vision for subsidized teacher housing has long road to travel
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.

January 26, 2018 | 30 comments
Eight is enough

This fall is the ideal time to submit school-board term-limit measure to voters
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.

January 19, 2018 | 10 comments
new year, new mayor

An elephant lurks during City Council election of new officers
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.

January 12, 2018 | 17 comments


A 'force for good'

First-time donors give $25K to holiday-giving campaign
The Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund received an unsolicited and completely unexpected check for $25,000 from a first-time donor.

December 15, 2017 | No comments yet
The risks of secrecy

School board splits on whether and how to accept large anonymous donations
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.

December 8, 2017 | 20 comments
Stanford's ambitious GUP

Proposal rekindles old issues of housing, transportation and 'build-out'
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.

December 1, 2017 | 5 comments
Give for the kids

Contributions to the Weekly's 25th Holiday Fund will be doubled
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.

November 17, 2017 | No comments yet
Home stretch for Comp Plan

More than a decade in the making, updated long-range plan nears finish line
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.

November 3, 2017 | 7 comments
Targeting parent civility

Union pushes for civility policy for parent problems it won't quantify or detail
If the teachers' union truly believes abusive parent behavior is a problem, then it should come forward with a written proposal and evidence.

October 27, 2017 | 16 comments
Irrationality on marijuana

We voted overwhelmingly to legalize it, but ambivalent city officials still push back
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.

October 20, 2017 | 40 comments
Our reporting on arrests

Why we're changing our policies on publishing the names of those arrested
We think the media has a responsibility to regularly look at the consequences of its editorial practices and to modify them as circumstances change.

October 13, 2017 | 6 comments
Next steps for school district

School board must focus on prioritizing the district's critical needs
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.

September 29, 2017 | 14 comments
Déjà vu for school district

New independent investigation reveals systemic failures, administrative disarray
Another disturbing portrait emerged this week of a school district still confused about its legal obligations in handling sexual-harassment complaints

September 22, 2017 | 22 comments
Our right to know

School board members need to disclose their views on McGee's future
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.

September 15, 2017 | 13 comments
The shriveling office cap

Council's split over office cap will surely return as an election issue next year
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.

September 8, 2017 | 49 comments
Time for McGee to go

School superintendent's latest blunder is the final straw
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.

September 1, 2017 | 102 comments
Judge Persky's misjudgment

With dubious legal challenge, Brock Turner judge seeks to derail his recall election
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.

August 18, 2017 | 48 comments
Buena Vista's finish line

After years of struggle, mobile home park will quietly become publicly owned
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.

August 11, 2017 | 16 comments
Serious or mollifying?

FAA report raises hopes on airplane-noise reduction, but with a long and uncertain time table
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.

August 4, 2017 | 7 comments
Facebook's proposed 'village'

Massive development proposal will only worsen housing, transportation problems
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.

July 14, 2017 | 62 comments
The war on cars

Palo Alto stays the course on bold paradigm shift on parking and transportation
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.

June 30, 2017 | 74 comments
The cannabis contradiction

Voters declared pot legal, but city officials seek to limit state law's impact — because they can
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.

June 23, 2017 | 39 comments
Castilleja's unwise stubbornness

Without a new approach, expansion plan may become a political Armageddon
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.

June 16, 2017 | 47 comments
The sex-ed tumult

Updated school curriculum and process for adopting it draw fire
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.

June 9, 2017 | 39 comments
A moment of truth

School board faces critical leadership test over sexual assault revelations
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.

May 26, 2017 | 24 comments
Beyond weighted GPAs

As school board relents to parent pressure, a deeper look at school philosophy is needed
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.

May 12, 2017 | 14 comments
A council adrift

Bizarre and poorly conceived 'symbolic' proposals are wasting time and disrespecting the public process
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.

May 5, 2017 | 87 comments
Resisting Donald Trump

In the wake of a disturbingly chaotic presidency, two local initiatives seek to blunt its harm
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.

April 28, 2017 | 84 comments
Misguided attempt to save money

Nonprofit pulls out of school district mental health services bid process
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.

April 14, 2017 | 13 comments
Return of the parking meter

Palo Alto considers shifting to paid parking on downtown streets, lots and garages
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.

April 7, 2017 | 9 comments
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
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.

March 24, 2017 | 12 comments
Making amends

Admitting its January 'irrationality,' council backtracks on Comp Plan
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.

March 24, 2017 | 15 comments
A necessary investigation

State opens inquiries into Kniss and Tanaka campaign practices
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.

March 17, 2017 | 34 comments
Renaming schools

Well-intentioned campaign to rename Jordan, Terman has divided community
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.

March 10, 2017 | 96 comments
Renew stormwater fee

A wet winter should help with passage of fee to continue important upgrades
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.

March 3, 2017 | 34 comments
Rescind, replace and approve

It's finally time for school district to take responsibility for past missteps with OCR
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.

February 24, 2017 | 8 comments
The retail quandary

Vibrant retail districts can't be achieved or maintained by ordinance alone
In an era of increasing challenges for small-business owners, creating successful retail environments has been shown to be more art than science.

February 10, 2017 | 8 comments
A reckless majority

In stunning surprise, new council majority upends planning process
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.

February 3, 2017 | 52 comments
Toward a mea culpa

New school board majority opts for more humble, collaborative course with Office for Civil Rights
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.

January 27, 2017 | 5 comments
A new parking mess?

Proposed parking program for Cal Ave neighborhoods needs fine-tuning or it will fail
The debate over who should be entitled to park in residential neighborhoods adjacent to business districts will be renewed Monday night.

January 20, 2017 | 26 comments

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