Guest Opinion: If you're not running for Palo Alto's City Council, why not? | June 12, 2009 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - June 12, 2009

Guest Opinion: If you're not running for Palo Alto's City Council, why not?

by Sid Espinosa

Even though it seems to many of us that we just had an election, "election season" in Palo Alto is quickly approaching — for some early starters it's already upon us.

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City Councilman Sid Espinosa is halfway through his first term on the council. He serves on several nonprofit, business and university boards, and is presently working for Microsoft in corporate citizenship and philanthropy. He can be e-mailed at


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Posted by Carroll Harrington
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 12, 2009 at 10:08 am

If you aren't quite ready to run for office, I urge you to volunteer in one of the City Council or School Board campaigns. It is great fun and a terrific way to meet people and learn strategy and tactics. You also have an opportunity to be involved in "serving your community."

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Posted by Lois
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 13, 2009 at 6:23 am

If Council was reduced from nine to seven members there wouldn't be this push to try to get people to run. Seven members could do just as good a job as nine, and Council meetings would be shorter because you wouldn't have so many people wanting to talk on every agenda item.

Reducing Council from nine to seven members requires changing the City's Charter which would require putting it on the ballot. Who would put it on the ballot - Council. Council won't because they're not about to reduce their own numbers. End of a great idea!!!

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 14, 2009 at 10:33 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

My contempt for the Palo Alto Way and their sophomoric misunderstanding of the real world would keep me from identifying with the voters.

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Posted by Betty Beyby
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 15, 2009 at 5:30 pm

Palo Alto voters rarely vote for naysayers. In fact, a laundry list of naysayers have gotten buried as Council candidates during the past decade...a partial list includes Andrew Freeman, Trina Lovercheck, Tru Love, Mark Sabin, Wei Wang, Litse Indergand, Paul Forbes, Ed Powers, Victor Frost, Nancy Lytle, John Fredrick, Ronny Bar-Gadda, Smokey Wallace, and Mark Nadim. Not one got even 20% of the vote. Palo Alto voters far prefer those with intelligence to represent them who make constructive decisions in a civil manner.

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Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 15, 2009 at 8:54 pm

Betty: You are so right. Anyone who criticizes the existing powers is immediately labeled a naysayer because he/she threatens the status quo.

Imagine a brave soul standing up and saying, “If I’m elected, I will focus on essentials like fixing roads and infrastructure, I will guarantee that all city employees – management and union—are held accountable for their actions, I will balance the budget without using the utility department as a cash cow and without an onerous business tax, I will ensure that we never have another children’s theater scandal because I will exercise my oversight powers, ….. “

The Fab 400 and the unions will go all out to defeat such a candidate.

What kind of intelligence and constructive decisions have you seen from the city council lately? Would urging us to vote for high speed rail be an example?

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Posted by Draft Pat
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 15, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Bring Pat back to Palo Alto from Los Altos and then elect her to the City Council for true fiscal conservatism!

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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 15, 2009 at 9:21 pm

I love Palo Alto, its a great city - but to any would-be city council candidates - run on a "I have common sense" platform. Please. Pretty please. Pretty, pretty please. And actually use common sense if you are elected.

We have become a laughing stock - a town full of incredibly smart people who are willing to fire policemen and traffic safety people, but hire someone to be the "point person in our organization for our efforts to restructure the American Dream". I would just like streets without potholes, sewers that work, libraries open during normal business hours, a website that is functional, city employees that are there Monday-Friday during business hours (and don't disappear at lunch, the time many people can take time to go to city hall, the bldg department, etc.) Common sense.

Common sense which includes our schools, roadways, transportation systems and other infrastructure in our housing goals. Common sense which realizes we are not Chicago, San Francisco or Boston, we will not use public transportation, because we can't get there from here. We will drive. Unless the public transport for day to day stuff changes (not HSR to LA, but BART to the grocery) we are going to continue to drive. If you build it, they will come, but they will still drive. Even if you don't give them enough parking...

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.