Editorials

2017

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

2016

A lost opportunity

Prime city-owned parking lots should have been candidates for housing
Given Palo Alto's clear need for affordable housing, why is no one focusing on the most important relevant resource the city has: publicly owned surface parking lots in commercial districts close to public transportation?

December 9, 2016 | 19 comments
Give for the kids

Support local nonprofits through the 23rd annual Holiday Fund
Don't let the booming Silicon Valley technology-driven economy lull you into thinking that there isn't a continuing divide, even in the affluent Palo Alto area, between those riding high and the many families living on the edge or in need of social services.

December 2, 2016 | 9 comments
Unraveling the Palo Alto election results

The voters have spoken, but what have they said?
We can't let the results of the Palo Alto City Council and school board races stand without comment, as the impacts of this election are not without significance.

November 18, 2016 | 24 comments
Our election recommendations

Read the Palo Alto Weekly's recommendations for the Nov. 8 ballot, including local races and state propositions.

October 28, 2016 | 15 comments
Keller, Kou, Kniss and Fine for Palo Alto City Council

In deciding whom to recommend in this year's City Council race we find ourselves in a dilemma similar to two years ago -- how to balance candidate knowledge and experience, views on issues, ability to work with others and ability to effectively articulate their positions and philosophy.

October 21, 2016 | 105 comments
Collins, DiBrienza for Palo Alto school board

Read the Weekly's endorsements in the 2016 Board of Education race
We expect and need more than good intentions from our leaders, and we have the opportunity to put in place a board with better judgment. In short, we need new blood.

October 14, 2016 | 52 comments
Yes on Santa Clara County measures A, B

Funds for affordable housing, transportation need challenging two-thirds vote for passage
Two important measures on the Nov. 8 ballot ask Santa Clara County voters to approve a $950 million bond measure to build badly needed housing to serve homeless and low-income residents and a half-cent sales-tax increase to fund transportation projects over the next 30 years.

September 30, 2016 | 13 comments
An imperfect wage increase

Palo Alto set to adopt quicker increase to $15, but restaurants protest inequities
There is no suspense about whether the Palo Alto City Council will approve a more expedited increase in the local minimum wage to $15 an hour when it meets Monday night, only how fast we want to reach that level.

September 23, 2016 | 5 comments
The 'microunit' allure

Proposed high density apartment development aims for car-less young professionals
Some call it an innovative way to create needed housing that will become the wave of the future. Others call it inappropriate spot up-zoning that would cause severe parking impacts on the surrounding neighborhood, do nothing to create affordable housing and set a terrible precedent.

September 16, 2016 | 76 comments
Let the campaigns begin

Hotly contested city and school elections await Palo Alto voters
Buckle your seatbelts. This fall's Palo Alto City Council and school board races are likely to be among the most substantive and consequential political races in recent history.

August 19, 2016 | 17 comments
End 'me too' raises

Time to change byzantine Palo Alto school-district pay-increase practice
It is troublesome enough that the powerful California teachers' union has achieved a system where performance doesn't matter and teachers all receive exactly the same pay and pay increase within a school district based only on their longevity and number of advanced degrees.

August 5, 2016 | 30 comments
Facebook's big expansion

Development agreement provides goody bag of money, mitigations, studies
A diverse parade of nonprofit, union and civic leaders turned out Tuesday night to a meeting of the Menlo Park City Council to give their enthusiastic support for a development proposal that would eventually almost double the number of employees working at Facebook's growing campus in east Menlo Park.

July 22, 2016 | 19 comments
Suddenly, a school budget crisis some feared

Tax growth falls short of Palo Alto school district's projections
Less than a month after approving a budget that relied on an almost 9 percent increase in property-tax revenue for the coming year, the Palo Alto Unified School District has learned that the Santa Clara County Assessor is projecting an increase of just over 5 percent.

July 15, 2016 | 48 comments
A bittersweet outcome

With the Palo Alto City Council and neighborhood in agreement, Maybell parcel is finally settled
Like many decisions that come after much community angst, Tuesday night's final approval of 16 single-family homes on a 2.5-acre parcel between Maybell Avenue and Arastradero Road at Clemo Avenue seemed anti-climactic and routine.

July 1, 2016 | 24 comments
Tax measure rushed and ill-advised

Proposed transportation tax on Palo Alto businesses doomed to fail if put on November ballot
Palo Alto City Council members are right to worry about political fall-out from the ever-worsening traffic congestion around town. But rushing an ill-considered tax measure in front of Palo Alto voters this November, at the same time a county transportation sales-tax measure will appear and without the support of the business community is a fool's errand.

June 24, 2016 | 28 comments
Saving Buena Vista

With the county Housing Authority stepping up, preservation of Palo Alto mobile-home park now appears likely
Intense and persistent efforts over the last year by Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian to put together a financial plan and political strategy that could save the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park and preserve 117 units of badly needed low-income housing in Palo Alto have finally paid off.

June 17, 2016 | 61 comments
A miscarriage of justice

Judge ignites firestorm with sentence that will allow Brock Turner out in just three months
Last week, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky used his sentencing powers to impose his own view of the Brock Turner sexual-assault case, overrule statutory sentencing guidelines and all but undo the work of the jury.

June 10, 2016 | 122 comments
Our election endorsements

Our recommendations for state Assembly, state Senate, United States Congress, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, state Proposition 50, Bay Area Measure AA, county Measure A and Ravenswood School District Measure H.

May 27, 2016 | 5 comments
The vanishing surplus

In opaque process, Palo Alto school trustees opt for large teacher, staff and administrator pay increases over other needs
The Palo Alto school board has spent months in what we now discover were two alternate realities, one taking place behind closed doors and another in public.

May 20, 2016 | 40 comments
Vicki Veenker for Assembly

Patent attorney could bring fresh, important perspective to Sacramento
While the eight California Assembly District 24 candidates would each bring unique qualities and experience to the job, we believe three attorneys -- Mike Kasperzak, Marc Berman and Vicki Veenker -- are the clear standouts.

May 13, 2016 | 50 comments
A transparency gap

Palo Alto school district violates its own policy in depriving public of timely meeting minutes
The Palo Alto school board majority and Superintendent Max McGee have repeatedly demonstrated through their action and inaction that "transparency" is merely a talking point.

May 6, 2016 | 25 comments
Palo Alto business registry has failed to deliver its promised value

As Palo Alto's business registry enters its second year and with the recent release of some of the data compiled over the last year, it is clear the program needs help.

April 29, 2016 | 16 comments
The angst over second stories

Neighbors clash over privacy and property rights
When should the City of Palo Alto forbid the construction of second-story additions in a neighborhood dominated by single-story homes?

April 22, 2016 | 54 comments
Hopes rise for teen psych unit

County initiative attracts multiple concepts for in-patient adolescent facility
This week, the county released the four submissions it received, including a joint response from El Camino Hospital, Stanford's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and Kaiser Permanente that proposed opening an 18-bed facility at El Camino's Mountain View campus that would initially serve 12- to 17-year-olds, including those without insurance coverage and unable to pay.

April 15, 2016 | 2 comments
Stanford's deafening silence

With Brock Turner verdict, Stanford misses opportunity to teach and show compassion, humility and resolve
Last week, with an opportunity to use the Brock Turner conviction to bring home the life-changing consequences of illegal behavior and excessive alcohol consumption, Stanford University officials were sadly absent and the university silent.

April 8, 2016 | 58 comments
The looming election

Council and school board races this fall demand strong, fresh candidates
Unusual opportunities exist this fall for qualified and motivated newcomers to seek and win seats on the Palo Alto City Council and the Board of Education, and now is the time for them to step forward.

April 1, 2016 | 44 comments
The housing fallacy

Big push for new housing development in Palo Alto belies economic realities
Palo Alto has become a community that is affordable only to those who have owned their homes for decades, inherited them or hold highly paid jobs. Or for the lucky few who made it to the top of a waiting list for subsidized units through the Palo Alto Housing Corporation.

March 18, 2016 | 147 comments
Getting out of cars

New Palo Alto initiatives take aim at single-occupancy vehicle commutes
Ask any employer in Palo Alto, large or small, tech or restaurant, what its biggest business challenge is and you'll get the same two answers: the lack of local housing options affordable to its employees and the hellish commute experiences that result.

March 11, 2016 | 28 comments
The Addison gift horse

Unprecedented $17 million anonymous gift to Addison shows need for clearer policies
The Palo Alto school district lacks any policy on anonymous gifts or on major donations offered to an individual school, and these sensitive issues should have been immediately brought to the school board for discussion the moment the Addison Elementary School donor emerged, not after countless hours of work had already been invested in developing a plan for how the money would be spent.

March 4, 2016 | 34 comments
Our city state

Transportation issues highlight aspirational 'State of the City' speech
Six years ago, when then-Mayor Pat Burt delivered his first 'State of the City' address, he read from prepared remarks about a weak economy and a city government that was cutting budgets, reducing staff and asking for pay and benefit concessions, and he focused on the importance of tending to the city's infrastructure needs.

February 26, 2016 | 7 comments
A parking Rubik's Cube

Solving downtown neighborhood parking problem requires patience, also in short supply
Just how far will downtown Palo Alto employees venture into surrounding neighborhoods in order to park free during the day? Five blocks? Eight? Ten? Those are among the many unanswered questions as the city is set to enter the second phase of a residential parking-permit system that feels to some residents like a game of Whac-A-Mole.

February 19, 2016 | 8 comments
A 'moon shot' denied

Palo Alto school board majority wisely rejects the allure of a new 'innovative' high school
Three of Palo Alto's five school board members courageously and emphatically said 'no' Tuesday night to initiating a months-long intensive study into the possible creation of an expensive new third high school at the old Cubberley High School site in south Palo Alto.

January 29, 2016 | 44 comments
Averting a resident revolt

Plan to regulate home landscaping in Palo Alto wisely pruned back
A water conservation plan that appeared designed by bureaucrats for bureaucrats was wisely scaled back Tuesday night by a unanimous Palo Alto City Council.

January 24, 2016 | 4 comments
Stop profiting from density

Palo Alto should not be making money from selling development rights
A Palo Alto commercial property owner will soon buy from the City of Palo Alto the right to build a new building that is 2,500 square feet larger than the zoning allows.

January 22, 2016 | 48 comments
Election of mayor, vice mayor mystify Palo Alto pols

Two openly competitive colleagues win council leadership positions
Two strong-willed former mayors, often at odds, strangely find themselves the new leadership team of a City Council divided by the election.

January 8, 2016 | 19 comments

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The holidays are here!

From live music to a visit with Santa, here's a look at some local holiday activities to help you get into the spirit of the season.

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