This September, the 350 Palo Alto Climate Action Team had the pleasure of hosting a discussion between 70-plus community members and Vice Mayor Pat Burt and Council member Alison Cormack, the leaders of Palo Alto's Sustainability and Climate Action Plan Ad Hoc Committee.
Moderated by two Gunn High School students, Saman de Silva and me, the council members emphasized the importance of meeting the city's 80% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030 through aggressive climate action — especially through electrification.
The process of residential electrification is a key aspect in climate mitigation, particularly here in Palo Alto where energy accounts for 32% of our carbon emissions. Electrification will not only minimize our carbon emissions, a necessary step toward fighting climate change, but it also will eliminate many natural gas-related health risks.
During the Q&A, both council members were asked to kick-start a program with many essential elements that would accelerate electrification. While neither member explicitly agreed to the time frame, both were very receptive to the spirit of the asks. Cormack said, "There's nothing on this list I disagree with," while Burt stated, "it is possible to get much, if not all, of this done in a year."
"We have to embrace getting it going vs. getting it perfect," they noted, emphasizing their determination to drive change in Palo Alto.
I, on behalf of the 350 Palo Alto Team, would like to thank both council members one last time for taking the time to sit down with us and address our concerns. As a young member of our city, I couldn't be more hopeful and excited to see decisive action in the near future from them. Until then, however, it is essential that we all do our part to drive this change by switching our appliances to electric and joining campaigns like 350.
Loma Verde Avenue, Palo Alto
This letter refers to the proposal to demolish two dental buildings at the heart of University Avenue's commercial district and replace them with a four-story mixed use development. From what I have read, it proposes to provide 11 below-market units out of 73. Big whoop for our needy population! Once again Lund Smith wants the city to put aside many building restrictions to do this. Such a building would overshadow those around it, contribute to traffic, and in no way ameliorate affordable housing in this community. If anything should replace those buildings, it must be consistent with the senior residences around it. Let me suggest that there be a building for disabled and elderly on limited incomes. Previous councils created the problem for these residents when they sanctioned the following conversions: the Palo Alto Hotel became the Keen Hotel; Casa Olga became the Nobu; the President Hotel's current conversion to another luxury hotel. And you know what? The first floor should be dental offices that will rent at no more than those they are replacing. If the Council cares about housing quality, affordability, and the previously dispossessed, then this is not the project and you will have other opportunities to do the right thing for this population.
Byron Street, Palo Alto
This story contains 526 words.
Stories older than 90 days are available only to subscribing members. Please help sustain quality local journalism by becoming a subscribing member today.
If you are already a subscriber, please log in so you can continue to enjoy unlimited access to stories and archives. Subscriptions start at $5 per month and may be cancelled at any time.