Huge political contributions spark outcry, suspicion | October 21, 2016 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - October 21, 2016

Huge political contributions spark outcry, suspicion

After Kou and Keller get about $100K, the city's former mayors warn of 'undue influence' in local politics

by Gennady Sheyner

As September wound down, Palo Alto City Council candidate Lydia Kou's campaign had plenty of endorsements but not a lot of cash.

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Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be emailed at


Posted by Amon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2016 at 7:17 am

Interesting that nothing was made of Vice Mayor Greg Scharff spending $80-90,000 on his 2nd council campaign two years ago. Just one little ole candidate. There wasn't a peep of outrage by these former mayors then about Scharff. Why do we think that was - hmmm - let me think. Oh - Politics!

That's right. These former mayors' politics, if you followed them then, were such that they would be aligned with Scharff then, and now with Kniss, Fine, Tenaka and McDougall. These mayors would not be politically in tune with Keller or Kou.

Hence their politically motivated "outrage" targeting the two current candidates, which allowed giving Greg Scharff a pass 2 years ago. Not falling for it, folks. Smarter than that.

Posted by Fred Balin
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 21, 2016 at 1:00 pm

Fred Balin is a registered user.

The dilemma for candidates who accept large contributions is one of perception.

Stewart Carl's campaign for city council has not and will not (1) accept contributions (cash or “in-kind”), individual or in combination, that exceed $250, and (2) all contributions must come from Palo Alto residents. End of story.

This is not to say that Stewart's campaign does not ask for and require contributions. It does, because it is not self-funded, and one cannot be a viable candidate for city council without meeting a certain financial threshold. Web site, yard signs, printed material, social media presence, a modicum of advertising, provisions for gatherings: that’s our must-have list of expenditures. Contribute now. Web Link

Fred Balin
Campaign Treasurer
Stewart Carl for Palo Alto City Council 2016

Posted by Not so Fine
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 21, 2016 at 6:37 pm

"I never said I was in favor of high-rises, offices and luxury towers," Fine told the Weekly.
He didn't need to say it, he just votes for them. The Chamber of Commerce is appreciative.
Born-again political hacks, like Fine, and like Tanaka - a born-again Democrat (he just joined the party), like Scharff last year, like turncoat Wolbach and his inspiration Liz Kniss, who never met a major development she couldn't vote for.
It's sickening, really.

Posted by Fred Balin
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 25, 2017 at 12:08 pm

Fred Balin is a registered user.

Conducting research on the 2016 and earlier campaigns and wanted to correct one statement in the letter from the former mayors that was quoted in the article above, i.e., "Not only are these contributions shocking and deeply troubling, but checks for $5,000 or more are unprecedented in our City Council elections!”

FPPC 1st pre-election period disclosure statements released 20 days prior to the mayors’ letter show that Greg Tanaka received two $5,000 contributions during that period. In 2014. Greg Scharff also received a $5,000 contribution. Candidates have also contributed $5,000 or more to their own campaigns.

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