Simitian blamed by board member for derailing deal | May 17, 2019 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - May 17, 2019

Simitian blamed by board member for derailing deal

Stanford asks to 'pause' its $138 million offer to Palo Alto Unified

by Elena Kadvany

Three Palo Alto school board members voted on Tuesday night to suspend consideration of a tentative agreement with Stanford University related to its proposed campus expansion, voicing disappointment that a deal they had celebrated a month ago is no longer moving forward.

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Staff Writer Elena Kadvany can be emailed at ekadvany@paweekly.com.

Comments

62 people like this
Posted by nope
a resident of College Terrace
on May 15, 2019 at 10:04 am

"Simitian declined to state whether the county or Stanford had suggested extending the April 15 deadline."

Yeah, I bet he did.

Here's a headline: Joe Simitian Proclaimed National Treasure. Weekly To Throw Parade!

Seriously. You owe Ken an apology which I am sure he will never get. You were wrong. Admit it for once.


71 people like this
Posted by PA Resident
a resident of College Terrace
on May 15, 2019 at 10:18 am

What am I missing here? Stanford made an attempt at divide and conquer and the PAUSD School Board fell for it. The only way Santa Clara County, Palo Alto and PAUSD will get an agreement from Stanford that mitigates the consequences of the huge amount of growth Stanford proposes is to present a united front. And to not back down on the absolutely necessary requirements for full on-campus housing and full support for faculty/staff children in Palo Alto schools, including a new school site. Dauber owes Joe Simitian an apology for his unwarranted attack, not the other way around.


22 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 15, 2019 at 10:22 am

>> Board member Shounak Dharap said he didn't see "any other option but to support this tentative agreement" given that the district's pleas for funding from Stanford fell on deaf ears for most of the last year.

>> "If that meant Stanford was going to be able to use us as leverage against the county then I'm sorry, but, again, it's better in my opinion to have at least some assurances or potential assurances for what we can give our students than to have a vague promise of really nothing, of some unenumerated benefits in the future," he said.

In Other Words, Stanford coerced PAUSD into agreeing to the deal. And, since Stanford doesn't have to worry about either the Brown Act or transparency, it worked. I'm still wondering where the $5800 comes from or why it was such a great deal. Beggars can't be choosers?

I'm also embarrassed for Stanford. Stanford should care about surrounding cities and school districts, but, apparently, it doesn't. Very shortsighted.


13 people like this
Posted by nope
a resident of College Terrace
on May 15, 2019 at 10:36 am

[Post removed.]


20 people like this
Posted by Father of Two
a resident of Midtown
on May 15, 2019 at 10:47 am

I am not a fan of Ken Dauber. Many times he enjoys talking about political correctness and tends to speak diplomatic language.

But this time, I think the agreement has positive meanings. Joe's deal cannot be worse than that. Maybe that's why Joe was not that happy.


28 people like this
Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 15, 2019 at 10:55 am

Green Gables is a registered user.

Joe Simitian is not the bad guy here nor is Santa Clara County. What Stanford wants, they want it now. When Stanford says jump to the City of Palo Alto, the City squeals, how high.


33 people like this
Posted by A Mom
a resident of Community Center
on May 15, 2019 at 11:15 am

Jade Chao nailed it, politics aside, let’s make sure the current and future students’ interests are protected. Joe should do more to help the district rather than using it as a bargaining chip for the county.


34 people like this
Posted by throwing a fit
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 15, 2019 at 11:20 am

How does Ken Dauber think that attacking a County Supervisor and making snide comments about Stanford, the two who will be deciding who gets what, helps our students? He should have zipped his lips like the other 4 disappointed Board members did last night.

Ken Dauber's "on the offensive" monologue made PAUSD's case for our students a million times harder to make.

Ken Dauber, you were not elected to be rude to elected officials and our neighbors. Please issue a public apology and recuse yourself again until the deal is done.


1 person likes this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on May 15, 2019 at 11:25 am

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

Dauber VS Simitian? Yowza!? What to do?

I suggest a disco dance off a la Dancing Rick and Starsky in the Starsky and Hutch movie.
Web Link
Simi is Har Mar, Daubs is “new guy” Ben Stiller.

[Portion removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on May 15, 2019 at 11:30 am

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

“Keep it safe, keep it sexy “


37 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 15, 2019 at 11:30 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

If Stanford has a limit of how much it is prepared to spend to get a development agreement, as I suspect it does, then Simitian's concern may be the $140 million the school board took off the table means that much less that Simitian can get for other purposes.

So that begs the question - does Simitian want the school district to get less so that he can get more for other purposes? If not then why complain about this agreement?


38 people like this
Posted by PA Resident
a resident of Community Center
on May 15, 2019 at 11:32 am

@ A Mom

You're missing the point. The school district is not a bargaining chip for the county any more than housing, transit, etc. are. Stanford proposes to substantially increase the number of people who work/study on campus. But Stanford does not want to do what it takes to keep the burden of housing them, schooling their children or the consequences of increased traffic to fall on surrounding cities - in other words to affect you. Simitian and the County are trying to get Stanford to understand that there is no free lunch, and you, your neighbors, both in Palo Alto and surrounding towns are not going to subsidize Stanford's expansion.


72 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 15, 2019 at 11:43 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

PA Resident - You are missing the point. As Simitian himself stated the County has ZERO ability to require that Stanford do anything regarding the school district. Stanford showed generosity in offering the agreement that it did to the school district.

"Simitian said the lack is a function of state law, which limits the county's ability to address school impacts as part of its environmental-review process.

"We don't have as many tools as we would like in the land use process to help our schools," Simitian said at the rally. "We can address traffic, we can address housing, we can address open-space protection, but what we don't have by virtue of state law is a lot of tools to help us help our local schools and the kids they serve."


15 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 15, 2019 at 11:45 am

I thought if an official is recused due to a conflict as Dauber and Collins are as their spouse work at Stanford
They are not allowed to make public comments on the matter?!?


14 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on May 15, 2019 at 11:50 am

" ... what we don't have by virtue of state law is a lot of tools to help us help our local schools and the kids they serve."

Sorry, kids. You don't get those crumbs after all.

Didn't Stanford once claim to be an educational institution? I have this vague memory, from long ago ... .


62 people like this
Posted by Resident Zero
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 15, 2019 at 11:50 am

Dauber is right, sadly. Joe acted badly towards the district, refused to do his job and negotiate with Stanford. Maybe it wouldn't have worked. Accusing Stanford of bad faith without even giving negotiations a chance is a boneheaded move.

It's pretty obvious that Simitian is trying to shift the blame to Stanford if the end deal is worse than what PAUSD got. Dauber isn't letting him. Good for Dauber.


26 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 15, 2019 at 11:52 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Sorry, kids. You don't get those crumbs after all."


IMHO $138 million is hardly crumbs when the law only requires Stanford to pay less than $10 million.


1 person likes this
Posted by Math
a resident of Barron Park
on May 15, 2019 at 12:10 pm

Can someone explain where the $138m total comes from giving the ramp up and down of fees described? Weekly?


20 people like this
Posted by Stanford long ago
a resident of Stanford
on May 15, 2019 at 1:13 pm

>Didn't Stanford once claim to be an educational institution? I have this vague memory, from long ago.

My sentiments exactly. I remember when it was an esteemed institution. Now it is run by money-making developers. Bigger! More!

A once-educational institution argues about educating its children.


16 people like this
Posted by Cover-up Culture
a resident of Community Center
on May 15, 2019 at 2:37 pm

"Full mitigation" (build 1600 extra housing units) was never in Pausds interests - meaning 800 more potentially unfunded students to Pausd, along w way more net trips according to the county's EIR.
Benefits the SEIU though. Simitian used and continues to use the school board and the PTA etc to get bargaining leverage. Hypocrites all. Who's looking out for our students and our community?


14 people like this
Posted by Cover-up Culture
a resident of Community Center
on May 15, 2019 at 4:09 pm

The point of shaking down Stanford is/was to get a new revenue source to prop up PAUSD teachers salaries, already the highest in the state, at $20k/student/year before the new raise.


3 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 15, 2019 at 4:52 pm

Let’s keep agreements and negotiations between entities distinct, not interrelated. Stanford must pay major sums to PAUSD AND have separate approvals from County of Santa Clara - Palo Alto is IN this County and Palo Alto’s needs for mitigations: much mire on traffic! (Not just transit passes to employees).
Stanford could add housing to parts of Stanford Shopping Center - very walkable.
- from a Palo Alto homeowner/resident


11 people like this
Posted by Simitian Correct
a resident of Midtown
on May 15, 2019 at 5:10 pm

Simitian Correct is a registered user.

Simitian made the correct call. Simitian = smart, experienced, savvy, diplomacy expert, knowledgeable about the issues at hand. Dauber's decisions and behavior are not even in the same universe, plus he should recuse himself given his spouse works at Stanford Law School. Dauber would do well to emulate Simitian who was a former Board member prior to his prolific and successful career in politics instead of publically attacking him.


20 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on May 15, 2019 at 5:25 pm

If Simitian has no tools to help PAUSD, he should butt out of the PAUSD - Stanford discussions and focus on an agreement that helps the county and Palo Alto.
Too many people have been fooled by the Weekly, because it is in Simitian's back pocket.


30 people like this
Posted by Joe commands
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 15, 2019 at 5:59 pm

Chris and nope- you are so correct about the relationship between simitian and the weekly. Just look at the headline to this story! So once again the weekly is writing stories and editorials to cater to the "important" people that it feels can make the most profit for them.


15 people like this
Posted by Jimmy
a resident of Downtown North
on May 15, 2019 at 6:07 pm

"Ken Dauber said that Simitian "killed" the district's tentative agreement with Stanford, which would have provided Palo Alto Unified with $138 million over 40 years to offset the burden of additional students in new Stanford housing who would enroll in the district."

Hasn't been this much horse manure since the Augean stables. What's the Net Present Value of $138 million over 40 years? A paltry amount. I also love how Stanford "promises to discuss" a school on their campus. That and $5 will get you a Frappucino. Why is Stanford so stingy and manipulative? Thank you Joe Simitian for standing up to their sophistry.


27 people like this
Posted by TIME FOR JOE TO GO
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 15, 2019 at 7:06 pm

Joe Simitian is the biggest bully out there when it comes to negotiations. He's wrong on this and he was wrong on funding the Buena Vista mobile home park. He cost us a lot of money with the park and now he's cost us a lot of money with Stanford. We are stuck with him because he bounces from elected office to elected office. Every time he's termed out of one, he moves on to the next. Please go Joe.


174 people like this
Posted by Train Fan
a resident of another community
on May 15, 2019 at 7:08 pm

[Portion removed.]

1: Stanford is under no obligation to pay more than $10 million. PAUSD was able to potentially obtain $138 million. $138 million > $10 million. Basic math, people.

2: Simitian/the County has no power to negotiate on the behalf of PAUSD. Simitian has effectively said as much. Simitian CAN'T get a better deal than what PAUSD got; he's not empowered to do so. Duh.

Some of you have entirely unsubstantiated faith that Simitian will magically negotiate a better deal for PAUSD...something HE IS NOT EMPOWERED TO DO AND SAID SO.


As a side note, IMHO if PAUSD needs another school location to accommodate future kids from Stanford, PAUSD should absolutely use eminent domain on Stanford land. That's a no-brainer, and they don't need Stanford's permission. Yes, Stanford would probably fight ED. Stanford would lose. Yes, I'm aware of Stanford's financial largess (non-profit academic...yeah right); they'd still lose.

Fun fact: Oak Knoll Elementary in Menlo Park was built on land that was taken from Stanford via eminent domain.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Midtown
on May 15, 2019 at 8:59 pm

[Post removed.]


6 people like this
Posted by Jimmy
a resident of Downtown North
on May 15, 2019 at 9:35 pm

Thanks! Nobody agrees on how many students get dumped into pausd. Times 20k per student. And that cost rises with an exponent, while simultaneously Stanford's fixed donation diminishes in real terms. So of course Stanford hypes $138mm. Actual NPV = $68.3M at a 4% discount rate. Weighed against possibly a billion dollars in costs for 1500 new pausd students a year for 40 years.

Though Stanford impact on pausd pales in comparison to SB 50 tripling the school population... Need to build 20 new elementary schools...


18 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Mayfield
on May 15, 2019 at 9:46 pm

@Jimmy, you should read the proposed agreement. The amount Stanford pays varies with both the actual number of students AND goes up annually. FYI, most of the money is front-loaded - $15M for a school, plus an increasing amount for 20 years, then declining the next 20 - since both sides expect a new deal to be negotiated in less than 20 years, when Stanford needs a new GUP.

I love how these armchair analysts thinks Joe S. is such a savvy operator. So far his major contribution has been to put at risk a deal that actually helps get more out of Stanford. Oh yeah, and forgetting to extend the deadline on the negotiating period in those guidelines - oops!


7 people like this
Posted by a clue
a resident of Stanford
on May 16, 2019 at 6:22 am

Anyone with an ounce of sense would have recognized the Stanford agreement for what it was -- out of the blue and too good to be true.

Stanford, after ignoring PAUSD's calls, suddenly wants a deal only with PAUSD because it loves PAUSD students the most. Stanford and PAUSD jump from a hard fought $10 million last time to a kumbaya $138 million this round because a few people showed up in public spaces making false claims. Come on.

IMHO Stanford fully expected that the County would reject the deal. Stanford said that it had to be conditioned on the County approving Stanford's Development Agreement which Joe Simitian told everyone, in advance, violated its rules. Web Link To allow Joe Simitian to do that, Stanford insisted that the agreement be reached by April 12, before the County ground rules expired, or the deal would be off. Web Link



Why would Stanford go to all this trouble? Certainly not because a few PTA moms were on the war path using $20k/student lies to pressure the university at meetings and rallies. Stanford's had much worse thrown at it and did not bow.

A clue was dropped at the School Board meeting Tuesday night when only Ken Dauber gave a prepared defensive diatribe and went on the attack. Don't politicians who did something they shouldn't have, and fear that they are about to get caught, act this way?



29 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 16, 2019 at 7:28 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Clue - you don't have a clue. The PAUSD/Stanford agreement timing was precisely in accordance with the agreed ground rules.


6 people like this
Posted by a clue
a resident of Stanford
on May 16, 2019 at 9:58 am

Peter Carpenter,

Yes, since the ground rules still applied, Stanford and PAUSD knew Supervisor Simitian could pull the agreement if they colored outside the lines.

And they did. Supervisor Simitian said the agreement violated the ground rules because it hinged on the County's approval the Development Agreement.

According to Joe Simitian, everyone knew that was not OK but they did it anyway.

"Simitian said he had discussed his concerns two weeks ago with Austin, who had assured him that the district's deal with Stanford will not be contingent on the county's approval of the Stanford development agreement...'I think they were so anxious to get a deal that they took a non-deal and thought it was a deal. What they got now is not a deal. It's a pretense of a deal.'" Web Link

Had Stanford and PAUSD waited to reach an agreement, Supervisor Simitian would not have had a say but for some reason Stanford insisted that an agreement be reached while the rules were in effect.

Back to my question: Why?


8 people like this
Posted by Recuse
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 16, 2019 at 10:40 am

Since the proposed agreement between Stanford and PAUSD has been suspended, Dauber and Collins must still be recused from all discussion about the matter given their wives work at Stanford. Since Collins called the FPPC before and was told he indeed needed to recuse himself, he should do so again ASAP since he seems to be unclear and has resumed involvement in the discussion now as has Dauber. Both are violating the law to ever discuss this. And now this is merely a suspension. The matter is not over but still alive and on hold for now.

[Portion removed.]


17 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 16, 2019 at 11:05 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Supervisor Simitian said the agreement violated the ground rules because it hinged on the County's approval the Development Agreement. "


The ground rules did NOT address this issue. Simitian is simply making up the his rules as he goes along.


5 people like this
Posted by a clue
a resident of Stanford
on May 16, 2019 at 11:29 am

PC,

The ground rule that was broken according to Joe Simitian: "The rules specified that negotiations pertaining to the development agreement would only take place between the county's negotiating committee (which includes Simitian and Supervisor Cindy Chavez) and negotiating team and Stanford's negotiating committee and negotiating team." Web Link

Here is the text:

"Negotiation of the Development Agreement will take place only between the County Negotiating Committee and Negotiating Team and Stanford Negotiating Committee and Negotiating Team as identified by these Ground Rules. ...

"This provision does not preclude the parties from contacting or being contacted by interested parties...to discuss potential Development Agreement terms, as long as the parties do not ...engage in discussions resulting in a deal between the party and interested party that would be presented as a proposal during the Negotiations Period." Web Link


57 people like this
Posted by nope
a resident of College Terrace
on May 16, 2019 at 11:33 am

[Portion removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]

Joe failed to do his job and negotiate in good faith with Stanford despite the vote of the Supervisors that he do it. That's very likely why he failed to ask for a date extension on the negotiating period ground rules -- he had no intention of even negotiating a development agreement in the first place. That's why he was so mad when Stanford and PAUSD made an agreement -- because Joe intended to not have a DA, and allow the schools to just be screwed. Then he lashed out at everyone and bullied them into dropping the agreement so that he could try to crawl back to safety and now Ken and Todd are calling him out for it.

[Portion removed.]


25 people like this
Posted by nope
a resident of College Terrace
on May 16, 2019 at 11:45 am

The Negotiating Period ground rule states,

"This provision does not preclude the parties from contacting or being contacted by interested parties...to discuss potential Development Agreement terms, as long as the parties do not ...engage in discussions resulting in a deal between the party and interested party that would be presented as a proposal during the Negotiations Period."

There was no "deal between the party [Stanford] and the interested party [PAUSD] that would be presented as a proposal during the Negotiations Period."

1. There was no deal. The board did not approve the proposed agreement.

2. There was no deal (see 1 above) that was "presented as a proposal during the Negotiating Period" because Stanford never had a deal (see 1 above) that could be presented to the County prior to April 15.

[Portion removed.]


14 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 16, 2019 at 12:19 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"as long as the parties do not ...engage in discussions resulting in a deal between the party and interested party that would be presented as a proposal DURING the Negotiations Period"

No rules were broken!


6 people like this
Posted by a clue
a resident of Stanford
on May 16, 2019 at 12:30 pm

[Portion removed.]

On the ground rules, you are cherry picking. Read the whole thing.

On your point that there was no "deal," that doesn't seem true. It's been reported that Stanford signed off on it, Superintendent Austin signed off on it, and the School Board appears to have signed off on it at its April 10 meeting too. What was left was just a formality, turning their private OKs into public signatures.

But none of this matters because Stanford did not object to Supervisor Simitian pulling it. Why not? Did Ken Dauber do something that blew the negotiations up that could not be fixed?


8 people like this
Posted by nope
a resident of College Terrace
on May 16, 2019 at 1:55 pm

[Post removed.]


15 people like this
Posted by Count to three
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 16, 2019 at 3:54 pm

@a clue, if the school board took action (voted) on Apr 10,they would be required to report it. They did not report any action. They did not even plan to vote on Apr 16,and in fact have never voted. Since it would require a unanimous vote of the three unrecused members, I would say the outcome is certainly in doubt. So no, not just a formality. There has never been a deal, just a tentative agreement between the negotiationing teams.


2 people like this
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Downtown North
on May 16, 2019 at 3:56 pm

[Post removed.]


16 people like this
Posted by Board watcher
a resident of College Terrace
on May 16, 2019 at 4:59 pm

It's interesting to watch people try to reverse engineer Simitian's charge that the ground rules were violated, by looking for the violation. But as Carpenter etc. have pointed out, not to mention Dauber, there was no violation of the ground rules. No agreement was made before the expiration of the negotiating period, and in fact no agreement has been made. Simitian didn't try to extend the negotiating period (that's what "declined to say" actually means, though it's not a very transparent way of saying it.

Simitian was, to put it directly, lying about the district or Stanford violating the ground rules.

Simitian gives every impression of a man out of his depth, making enemies - or at least very frustrated allies - when he could be building a coalition of grateful constituents. Dauber's attack on Simitian is less revelatory about Dauber than it is about Simitian. When a county supervisor is publicly and directly criticized by a school board member in his home town, it means he has screwed up badly - and is politically weak indeed. [Portion removed.]

I'm sure Simitian thought the GUP would cement his status as a political giant in the county. He looks more like Gulliver now.


3 people like this
Posted by the agreement
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 16, 2019 at 7:15 pm

Count to three,

Not reporting action from the closed session must have been a mistake because the Board would have had to accept the "settlement agreement" on the Stanford EIR litigation in closed session before it moved it to a public meeting on the 16th re-labeled "tentative agreement." That would have happened on the 10th.

The Weekly reports that the Board decided to treat the tentative agreement as a settlement of the lawsuit PAUSD threatened to file so that the Board could keep it from the public, and from Joe Simitian, until the last minute.

That clever trick is an odd strategy to go with since it opened the Board to a Brown Act challenge as the Weekly pointed out last week.

There too is that EIR litigation, and so its settlement agreement, would have been between PAUSD and the County.

The tentative agreement was between PAUSD and Stanford.


10 people like this
Posted by Ok then
a resident of Community Center
on May 16, 2019 at 7:35 pm

There seems to be some confusion about this.


Like this comment
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 16, 2019 at 7:45 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

[Post removed; off topic.]


7 people like this
Posted by a duck
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 16, 2019 at 7:48 pm

Board Watcher,

As "a clue" points out, Stanford didn't challenge Supervisor Simitian's call about the agreement. If Stanford is unhappy with him pulling it Stanford would have made noise to that effect.

"Dauber's attack on Simitian is less revelatory about Dauber than it is about Simitian." No. Dauber's service has been short, his list of supporters is short, and the list of people who think he's harmed our schools with the unprecedented turmoil and turnover since he came on to the Board is long.

"Simitian was...lying ...out of his depth, making enemies." Wow.

Really, you and Ken Dauber should stop the personal attacks. It is not a good color on you and, most importantly, insulting the County decision maker is making it significantly harder to get our schools the mitigations they need in the negotiations still to come. Everyone, including you, should care about that.


21 people like this
Posted by Retire Joe
a resident of Community Center
on May 16, 2019 at 7:55 pm

Joe should worry about himself. He has 138 million problems.


10 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on May 16, 2019 at 9:41 pm

@a duck - per the Weekly:

"We are surprised by such a decision because Supervisor Simitian and the county had actively encouraged us to engage with PAUSD as part of these negotiations, and we believe this discussion is not in violation of the ground rules for the development agreement process," McCown said in an email."

So yeah, Stanford disagrees. My guess is that Stanford has made their technical argument directly to the County. We're all still waiting for Simitian's argument - since he's the one who messed up by failing to extend the negotiations period, it might be a long wait.

On Dauber - you must have missed the last election, when both papers wrote glowing endorsements and he ran away from the field. Here's the Weekly again:

"Even his early critics ... have largely come around to realizing he has been a force for positive change and a strong leader through a difficult period. ... We are in a far better place than at any point in the last decade."

I guess you are one of the hold-outs, but most people recognize Dauber has been the leader in righting the district's ship the last 4+ years. While Joe was, umm, getting termed out of office and returning to his County Supe job.

As for calling out Simitian - if he screws up the GUP/school deal, his career is over. Forget running for Congress, he wouldn't get elected dog catcher. Reminding him that fact seems like a good move, since his temper seemed to get the better of him.


12 people like this
Posted by Count the three
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 16, 2019 at 9:52 pm

@the agreement - "must have been a mistake" - or, umm, you could be wrong. My guess is that the board followed the rules pretty carefully, since they had lawyers coaching them the whole time. And besides, if they did approve, there would still be a deal, right? But there isn't.

So no, the school board never approved anything and there was never a "deal." Joe can throw tantrums and mud, but as Dauber said, it's just a politician covering his tracks.



9 people like this
Posted by duck
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 16, 2019 at 10:28 pm

Time will tell who will end up taking the fall for this.

In the meantime, update your notes on Ken Dauber because the Weekly's assessment of him changed since last Fall.

Last week the Weekly wrote:

"When we recommended that voters support the election of Ken Dauber...in the last two school board elections, [his] strong views on the importance of transparency was a major factor...So it is deeply disappointing to learn this week that the board, Superintendent Don Austin and Stanford University worked in concert to circumvent the intentions of the Brown Act, limit public awareness and undermine county ground rules."

"In a carefully orchestrated plan revealed in a March 29 email from Austin to the school board and other emails obtained by the Weekly, the school district and Stanford developed and implemented a strategy to hide the fact they had negotiated a deal ...deceptive posting ...conduct that disrespected and misled the public and attempted to manipulate the county's process"

Web Link


16 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on May 16, 2019 at 11:32 pm

@duck, huh, you mean the matter Dauber recused himself on? You really are grasping at straws.

Sure Simitian looks like a hero at this point, saving the schools from all that money. But keep in mind, this is the guy who voted to close Gunn High School until he realized it was a career ender. I don't underestimate his ability to wriggle off the hook.


13 people like this
Posted by Evan Low
a resident of Barron Park
on May 17, 2019 at 12:06 am

I guess joe’s entitlement to Anna’s is now subject to doubt?


21 people like this
Posted by Where's Joe?
a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 17, 2019 at 5:47 am

Hey Weekly, how about getting Simitian and Dauber to show up on your video show and debate the issue? Let Joe defend his approach and put Ken to the test of whether he got this right.


7 people like this
Posted by self interest first, students second
a resident of Barron Park
on May 17, 2019 at 8:10 am

Board Watcher writes that "when a county supervisor is publicly and directly criticized by a school board member in his home town, it means he has screwed up badly."

No. It means that Ken Dauber is putting his personal interests first, perhaps to get an early start campaigning for Anna Eshoo's Congressional seat as Evan Low suggests.

[Portion removed.]


12 people like this
Posted by Mahatma Gandhi
a resident of Barron Park
on May 17, 2019 at 9:54 am

@self interest: Not to question your political knowledge, but you do know that "Evan Low" is not Evan Low, right? The real Evan Low is way more likely to beat Joe Simitian for Eshoo's seat than he is to write into Town Square.

The truth is that Eshoo held that seat long enough so that an old white guy is not going to claim it. Dauber is a slightly younger white guy but he looks to me like a terminal school board member. I would be surprised if he even ran for the city council after this much less Congress. My bet is that he came onto the board to make some changes in the district, as had some success, voted for term limits, and will head for the exit in 3 years.


2 people like this
Posted by nope
a resident of College Terrace
on May 17, 2019 at 10:50 am

[Post removed.]


10 people like this
Posted by hopeful parent
a resident of Stanford
on May 17, 2019 at 4:44 pm

Recuse,

Good idea that Dauber and Collins recuse themselves going forward too.

Lots on the internet about it.

“When In Doubt, Sit It Out”-Gov. Code Section 1090 Update, League of CA Cities. Web Link

"Section 1090 prohibits public officials from being financially interested 'in any contract made by them in their official capacity, or by any body or board of which they are members.'

Section 1090 has been interpreted as including the financial interests of a public official’s spouse.

Contracts in which staff members have a financial interest are valid so long as the staff member does not participate in the making of the contract.

Participation in the making of a contract is defined broadly and includes preliminary discussions, negotiations, compromises, reasoning, planning.

Penalties for violation of Section 1090 are severe. Criminal violations are punishable with a fine of not more than $1,000 or by imprisonment in the state prison and permanent disqualification from holding any office in California. In addition, Section 1092 provides that any contract entered into in violation of Section 1090 is void."


3 people like this
Posted by Ronald
a resident of Downtown North
on May 18, 2019 at 12:45 pm

This secret 'deal' was a such a one sided arrangement, but the PAUSD board did not see it. I can't understand how the school board thought this was a good deal for them at all. The apparant facts are Stanford offered a very paltry $138M over 40 years to mitigate the impacts of a possible large number of new Stanford kiss in PAUSD. $138M over 40 years is ONLY $3.45M each year. Yes, better than nothing, but this extra money would likely be simply consumed by inflation, and leave $0 for new classrooms, new teachers, new anything. In addition, the secret backroom deal stinks of another fraud perpetrated against PAUSD students and tax payers. PAUSD board; Stanford is a for profit corporation masquerading as an educational instution. Profit drives every decision, your negotiations with Stanford are adversarial, not cooperative. Don't be so easily duped.


3 people like this
Posted by Sam
a resident of Barron Park
on May 18, 2019 at 1:12 pm

El Camino is a mess of pot hole after pot hole, pot hole, from trucks roaring down the road from the below Stanford development, who is going to fix this... we spend a lot on car maintenance

Stanford University has build a new, very nice community at South California and Bowdoin St, with a huge community pool, play ground, etc. Single family homes and multi-family, which means kids attending Palo Alto School District. The hard working parents of Palo Alto who pay taxes are subsidizing Standard.

Location of new stanford development:
1495 Bowdoin St, Palo Alto, California 94306, United States

From the intersection of South California Avenue and El Camino Real in Palo Alto, drive on South California Avenue and closer to Stanford University one can see some new homes on California Avenue and the new development is where the road ends and Bowdoin St and go left into the development. Please see the attached pictures.

Interesting that the address is Palo Alto and Not Stanford... does this mean that anyone can buy this home and not just faculty ?? I would love to live in this beautiful development!

Current House for sale on Stanford University Campus: 668 Salvatierra St STANFORD, CA 94305, $2,635,000, Price; 3 Beds; 3 Baths; 2,364 Sq. Ft.; $1115 / Sq. Ft. Kicker is ADVERTISES THE EXCELLENT PALO ALTO SCHOOLS: Elegant single story traditional home close to campus. Lovely gardens and established vegetation frame this very special home which is ideal for entertaining with a family room which opens to spacious patio. Updated kitchen and baths- move-in condition. Excellent Palo Alto schools and convenient to services and Silicon Valley amenities. AVAILABLE TO ELIGIBLE STANFORD FACULTY AND STAFF ONLY.


3 people like this
Posted by Johnson
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on May 18, 2019 at 1:18 pm

See the article in the Daily Post, Mr. Ken Dauber lashes out at Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Joe Simitian Tuesday (May 15, 2019).

Mr. Dauber's wife is a law professor at Stanford, maybe he should check on the definition of a Conflict Of Interest! Mr. Dauber has too much influence on the school board and is a google employee that needs to be removed from the school board!

Web Link

The below May 16, 2019 article, Ken Dauber's wife is a law professor at Stanford and Mr. Dauber also works at Google. Since Mr. Dauber joined the Palo Alto school board, he has wielded a lot of power. Clearly a conflict of interest for Mr. Dauber to be involved at all. Even if Mr. Dauber recuses himself, he still may have side conversations with persons involved. The kids and the community are the losers.

Dauber lashes out at Simitian, says supervisor killed deal between district and Stanford
Palo Alto school board member Ken Dauber slammed Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Joe Simitian Tuesday (May 15) for “killing” Stanford’s $138 million offer to fund the school district as part of the university’s 3.5 million-square-foot expansion.


4 people like this
Posted by Legal eagle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 18, 2019 at 3:58 pm

Both Dauber and Collins recused themselves while the deal was on the table. Now it's not. I don't think they have any legal issues. Politically, Simitian seems good at blowing smoke. I wouldn't be surprised to see a connection with some of these posts.


3 people like this
Posted by law schooling
a resident of Stanford
on May 18, 2019 at 6:11 pm

Legal Eagle,

Check your law books because “When In Doubt, Sit It Out” above states that recusal is required BEFORE the deal is on the table: "participation in the making of a contract is defined broadly and includes preliminary discussions, negotiations, compromises, reasoning, planning."

I assumed that was why Dauber recused himself at first but then, for some reason, he decided to be "all in" when things started heating up.


1 person likes this
Posted by HerbF
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 18, 2019 at 6:39 pm

HerbF is a registered user.

We need a deal that simultaneously propects the city of Palo Alto and its school board. Shame on Dauber and yah for Joe.


3 people like this
Posted by public law
a resident of Stanford
on May 19, 2019 at 8:19 am

One of the easiest things for a public official to get is a read from the FPPC on whether he or she has a conflict of interest. It is free and quick. Web Link

Ken Dauber knows that.

Four years ago, according to the Weekly, he asked the FPPC if he had a conflict of interest discussing Federal Office for Civil Rights matters because of his personal and professional relationships with key OCR personnel and his wife who helped the family that filed a claim against PAUSD.

The Weekly August 2015: "Dauber said ...he is seeking a ruling from the FPPC in order to quell any concerns ...as he anticipates OCR-related issues will come before the school board this fall." "'Looking forward, I want to be able to point to a clear advice from the FPPC that I expect will affirm that I don't have a conflict. But in any case, I'll have clarity,' he said." Web Link

Weekly, ask Ken Dauber for the FPPC advice he got on the Stanford matter or send the FPPC a Public Records Act request to get it and then publish what you find.

If that advice says he doesn't have a conflict when participating in decisions relating to the Stanford GUP, asked and answered. If it says he does, Dauber may have a big problem on his hands. If he didn't ask this time, he likely didn't want FPPC's answer to be in the public record.


9 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 19, 2019 at 9:26 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

You are missing the point.

This issue has nothing to do with Dauber but rather is Simitian ‘s attempt to negate the PAUSD agreement in order to enhance his bargaining position and public perception.


3 people like this
Posted by public law
a resident of Stanford
on May 19, 2019 at 9:38 am

One more ask of the Weekly.

Look at the letter you report the FPPC sent to Todd Collins and confirm that it says that "it was appropriate for them [Collins and Ken Dauber] to participate."

It would be unusual for the FPPC letter to Collins to mention Ken Dauber since FPPC gives advice only to the public official who requests it. "Requests that will be declined ...requests for advice posed on behalf of others." Web Link

And "participate" in what? The environmental-impact report or negotiations with Stanford, a distinction you say Ken Dauber made in interviews?


1 person likes this
Posted by public law
a resident of Stanford
on May 19, 2019 at 10:29 am

Peter Carpenter,

If Ken Dauber had a conflict of interest and participated in the Stanford-PAUSD agreement anyway, the deal both sides reached could be voided just because he was involved when he shouldn't have been. Web Link In other words, Ken Dauber could have nixed the deal before it got to Supervisor Simitian's desk.

Ken Dauber voluntarily popping in and out of public meetings on this because of his conflict of interest underscores that this is an issue which the FPPC letters, if any, could easily resolve.


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 19, 2019 at 10:35 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Dauber did not participate in the negotiations so any conflict he might have would not affect the validity of the negotiations.

Please quit distracting from the fundamental issue which is Simitian trying to negate the PAUSD agreements.


7 people like this
Posted by Simitian cutouts
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 19, 2019 at 10:56 am

Simitian killed the proposed agreement between PAUSD and Stanford, so there's no agreement that would conceivably give rise to a conflict of interest for Dauber or Collins. Dauber is allowed to criticize Simitian for how he has handled the GUP [portion removed.] This chatter is obviously an effort to distract from that issue.

Notice that Simitian hasn't responded to any of Dauber's points, except to essentially confirm that he didn't ask Stanford to extend the negotiations period.


3 people like this
Posted by public law
a resident of Stanford
on May 19, 2019 at 11:48 am

What is and isn't "participating" is a legal determination best made by the experts, the FPPC.

There are two common ways a public official "participates":

(1) Giving information, an opinion, or a recommendation to affect a decision.

(2) Making a decision such as being at the negotiation table which Peter Carpenter mentions. "A public official makes a governmental decision if the official authorizes or directs any action, votes, appoints a person, obligates or commits his or her agency to any course of action, or enters into any contractual agreement on behalf of his or her agency."

A public official can have a conflict of interest anywhere on the way to a deal, even if it does not materialize.

For instance, I recall reading that the School Board approved a resolution that spelled out what the Superintendent was to demand from Stanford. Board members with a conflict of interest who participated in that discussion put themselves and any resulting deal at risk.


5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on May 19, 2019 at 11:51 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

“Board members with a conflict of interest who participated in that discussion put themselves and any resulting deal at risk.”

Correct and Dauber did NOT participate in those discussions. Quit trying to create a distraction from the real issue.


7 people like this
Posted by public law
a resident of Stanford
on May 19, 2019 at 12:11 pm

@ Peter,

Ken Dauber did participate in that discussion according to the Weekly.

"The Palo Alto school board unanimously approved a resolution ...asking the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors to require Stanford University to give the district both land and money ...

Stanford's associate vice president for government and community relations...repeated a previously voiced concern about potential conflict of interest for certain board members participating in decisions related to the general use permit, suggesting that 'it would be unfortunate if this uncertainty could create vulnerability regarding the legality of agreements we might reach with the district.'

Dauber, whose wife is a Stanford professor, reiterated that the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), in response to an inquiry from Collins, whose wife also works at Stanford, has said it is appropriate for both of them to participate in discussions related to the general use permit." Web Link

Again, that would be easy to verify by getting a copy of the letter the FPPC sent to Todd Collins.


6 people like this
Posted by Gunn neighbor
a resident of Barron Park
on May 19, 2019 at 3:17 pm

Both Dauber and Collins have said that Collins was told by the FPPC that so long as the district is not contracting directly with Stanford, they are free to participate in discussions about the GUP. Including lobbying the county and speaking with the community. Notice that Stanford didn't complain to the FPPC, even though Collins and Dauber were their strongest critics. Now that the agreement with Stanford is dead, they are both free again to comment. Any anyone including Simitian is free to complain to the FPPC to hear the same thing.

This is all obvious to anyone who has been paying attention. This is pretty clearly an attempt to distract as Carpenter says. Anybody can sound plausible to the uninformed.


5 people like this
Posted by PA
a resident of College Terrace
on May 19, 2019 at 5:42 pm

The District would probably squander the money anyway! Exactly as someone has already stated. How many times have they promised to reduce the class size and ACTUALLY be in compliance with special education law services? Not even a real puff of smoke on that one. Many promise elements have already been stripped down and cancelled. And don't be fooled by marketing.... Until a student tells you they have experienced it and it was ACTUALLY EFFECTIVE, i.e. they met ALL their goals and ACTUALLY received benefits that they can articulate and are sustainable ---- it doesn't exist! PAUSD IS FAMOUS for agreeing when you finally have them up against the wall but as soon as you stop the pressure, call off the lawyers, etc... Things change, WHILE THEY WANTED TO DO X, it just wasn't possible... and once again - NO SUCCESSFUL CLASS SIZE REDUCTION OR EQUITY AND 100% COMPLIANCE WITH IEPS AND 504s!

Isn't it time for part 2 of a Me too raise? Anything to capture the money before it goes out the door for legal fees or for actually doing what you are supposed to - educate ALL THE STUDENTS!


4 people like this
Posted by google is your friend
a resident of Barron Park
on May 19, 2019 at 7:26 pm

@ Gunn neighbor,

It doesn't look like the FPPC agrees that what saved this for Collins and Dauber is that they lobbied the County instead of Stanford.

"Recusal Requirements. An official with a disqualifying conflict of interest may not ...use his or her position to influence a governmental decision including directing a decision, voting, providing information or a recommendation, or contacting or appearing before any other agency official. When appearing before any other agency, the official must not act or purport to act in his or her official capacity or on behalf of his or her agency."Web Link

From what people posted above, they talked to Stanford at School Board meetings Stanford attended too.





10 people like this
Posted by nope
a resident of College Terrace
on May 20, 2019 at 11:33 pm

Oh hey here's a surprise. Joe Simitian is completely incompetent in negotiating with Stanford. It's not like he screwed up the last GUP or something.

Oh. Wait.


11 people like this
Posted by nope
a resident of College Terrace
on May 20, 2019 at 11:36 pm

Forgot the link.

Here you go!

Web Link

First he said the schools should negotiate with Stanford.

Then he said they shouldn't.

Then he [portion removed] accused the schools of breaking groundrules they didn't break.

Then he falsely accused Stanford of rescinding an offer they didn't rescind.

Hey Joe -- just do your job and stop all the [portion removed]theatrics.


Like this comment
Posted by Tessa
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 22, 2019 at 9:51 am

[Post removed.]


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

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