Housing, economic recovery top city's 2022 priorities | February 11, 2022 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - February 11, 2022

Housing, economic recovery top city's 2022 priorities

City Council signals it will also focus on climate change, community health and safety

by Gennady Sheyner

Economic recovery will remain a key priority in Palo Alto in 2022, city leaders agreed on Saturday, though they had different ideas about what that means.

This story contains 872 words.

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Email Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner at gsheyner@paweekly.com.


Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 6, 2022 at 7:14 am

Annette is a registered user.

Per Mayor Burt: "We historically had 11 investigators and we have three today . . . That's how thin our police are."

It's a good thing CC added Community Safety and Health to the official list of priorities for 2022. I'd like to see priority given to that priority.

a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 6, 2022 at 8:02 am

KEN HOROWITZ is a registered user.

The City Council should include sugar addiction to the components under Community Health. Sugar not only contributes to obesity and tooth decay but many other health disorders because of its destructive effects on the all body systems. And the City could implement many effective programs to combat sugar addiction by passing a soda tax on sugar sweetened beverages as done in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, and Albany. A two cent per ounce tax could generate approximately $1.5M for the City

Posted by Karen White
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 6, 2022 at 9:34 am

Karen White is a registered user.

A sugar tax is ludicrous and besides, Palo Alto cannot be compared to extreme left-wing cities like Berkeley, San Francisco, or Oakland.

Palo Alto is a well-educated suburban community and its residents are fully capable of deciding what or what not to consume on their own.

As in politics, moderation and common sense are the key elements, not frivolous add-on taxes and questionable prohibitions.

Posted by local gurl
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Feb 6, 2022 at 11:59 am

local gurl is a registered user.

It’s laughable that the Council continues to “prioritize” affordable housing when the city’s track record has been all talk and little to no action. Don’t b*****t us.

Posted by David Coale
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 6, 2022 at 12:11 pm

David Coale is a registered user.

I unfortunately was not able to view the Saturday council meeting on setting priorities for the city for next year and was hoping to read more about it. I was very disappointed to see that Greg Tanaka’s hair-brained idea of “PaloAltoCoin” got more print then one of the top priority of addressing climate change.

To meet the city’s goal of 80% reduction of GHG by 2030 it will take way more time, effort and money to realize than all the other priorities put together, and the council said nothing on this? The Weekly did not say anything more about this? And now it appears we will have to upgrade the Palo Alto grid to realize these goals – an added expense that “suddenly” is apparent: Web Link

We need to keep addressing climate change, electrifying our homes, transportation and transportation alternatives, in the forefront of all city projects and policies to meet our fair share of GHG reductions. The good news is that there are also many benefits to addressing climate change, better health, environment, quality of life as well as the jobs to make this happen, which bolsters our economy as well.

I hope to hear more about how the city will meet this important priority both from the Council and the Weekly.

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 6, 2022 at 12:37 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

"er Mayor Burt: "We historically had 11 investigators and we have three today . . . That's how thin our police are."

It's a good thing CC added Community Safety and Health to the official list of priorities for 2022. I'd like to see priority given to that priority.

Yes, it's a good thing. So why not reassign some officers NOW to an investigation unit instead of waiting until more offices are finally hired?? The crimes are happening now and each crime contributes to PA's image as a target-rich community with a do-nothing police force.

Not good for our peace of mind and tranquility.

I was therefore bemused city wants is making "mental health" a priority. To me that sounds like "traffic calming" that makes us frustrated rather than calm. Paying big bucks for road furniture to create traffic bottlenecks does not give me inner peace; it gives me agita.

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2022 at 1:26 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

Economic recovery without fiscal responsibility is not possible. Palo Alto's track record on this is a dismal F. Make fiscal accountability a priority and that will speed on economic recovery across the board.

Crime, is becoming a top issue. It may or may not be covered by Health and Safety, but it should be a priority on its own.

Otherwise, same old, same old. How can those ideals be measured? How do we know if they have been attained? They are feel good issues with no measured success or way of knowing how to measure success.

Getting infrastructure for those of us who live in Palo Alto and pay for the services the City provides would be a better priority in my opinion.

Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2022 at 1:51 pm

resident3 is a registered user.

I thought the public comments yesterday that informed the Community Health and Safety priority were excellent, and raised appropriate concerns.

It was not about sugar codes or road furniture.

This meeting is also MUCH better than prior years. It was pointed out that associated work plans follow the broad priority categories.

PA Weekly - any chance you can write about the priority setting process itself?

Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 6, 2022 at 2:15 pm

Online Name is a registered user.

I totally agree the public comments were excellent.

Many of us left when the meeting then degenerated semantics and lengthy discussions of the difference between values and priorities and which should influence what and whether "mental health" was a worthy goal.

Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2022 at 2:49 pm

resident3 is a registered user.

Though it was not an issue I had thought about, I believe mental health and a sense of belonging was related to youth and the tough issues that have come up with Covid.

"all hands on deck" to look at this issue has my support, and I'll be looking forward to knowing what we can do to help.

Posted by Local Resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 7, 2022 at 10:18 am

Local Resident is a registered user.

I was wondering how the council was going to include air plane and leaf blower issues into the Goals and they pulled it off nicely. Good job. I'm also really glad that restoration of services including police is included to help keep the community safe and reduce the number of victims of crime.

Posted by MBH
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 7, 2022 at 11:25 am

MBH is a registered user.

Tanaka apparently has not paid attention to the insane electricity consumption and cost of the bitcoin craze. From the Fortune Daily . . . "Each Bitcoin transaction consumes 1,173 kilowatt hours of electricity. That's the volume of energy that could "power the typical American home for six weeks." And to enable a single sale or purchase or transfer costs $176 in electricity.
The math: 9 cents/KWH X 1,173 KWH = $176. Palo Alto should be forbidding ANY bitcoin transactions by the city or its employees or council members on the grounds that it contributes enormously to adding CO2 to the the atmosphere.

Link to the Fortune Daily:
Every single Bitcoin transaction—even buying a latte—consumes over $100 in electricity, says a new report
October 26, 2021 5:30 PM PDT
Web Link

Posted by TuppenceT
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 7, 2022 at 11:37 am

TuppenceT is a registered user.

Stopping the sale of leaded gas at the airport should be the highest on the health action items. Better yet: no airport.

Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 7, 2022 at 12:30 pm

Native to the BAY is a registered user.

Low-income youth and children need 80-100% sliding scale low cost or no cost access to ALL recreation and art center swimming/water safety classes/camps. 50% is not enough. Insane to think the priority is mental health and safety when there is little to nothing provided for our youth. No new skate park (PA kids use Menlo’s SP because Greere’s is so unsavory and unsafe). Not one Palo Alto based therapist or psychologist MFCC takes Medical or Affordable Care insurance for mental health services (not even for youth!) . I know because I’ve looked for years. Had to go out of PA for youth and adult MH services. Where is PA putting it’s 12million dollars from Cares Act distribution. No one seems to know or care?! My family has had 4 locked bikes stolen since COVID . If the affordability in housing is not embraced the city has to offset extra enormous cost to rent here w a UBI for low income low wage workers (get it from tech Co’s who have stolen our data for their greedy profits) . Plus provide low low cost city services for transit options to and from work, utility payments, free access to places like Foothill Park. The list goes on ...

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 7, 2022 at 3:22 pm

Anonymous is a registered user.

Crime (Public Safety) and economic recovery are by far the most important duties that the Palo Alto City Council should focus on.

Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of another community
on Feb 7, 2022 at 3:41 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

Gas leaf blowers are on their way out thanks to legislation that will ban them throughout the state in 2024. However, electric blowers are just as bad, but without the fumes. They are a nuisance because they jangle the nerves of anyone within hearing and they make the gardeners go deaf. We don't have any real enforcement of citing the gardeners who make us want to leave our homes every time they pull up to a neighbor's house or our own. Whatever happened to a broom and a dust pan? The noise of blowers is bad enough but they blow all of the dust and leaves onto cars parked anywhere within reach. I watched a gardener deliberately blow a pile of leaves right into the trunk of a car parked on the curb. I felt like writing down their license plate, and putting a note on the car's windshield to identify who coated their car with a quarter inch of leaves and dust that ended up stuck to their car windows. It was early enough in the morning that the car was still covered with dew. Perfect aim, gardener boys. Sock it to the poor hapless resident who lacks a garage. AND EAR PLUGS.

Posted by What Will They Do Next
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 7, 2022 at 5:56 pm

What Will They Do Next is a registered user.

Prioritizing climate change again? When will these people realize that Palo Alto nor any other city or country cannot affect global climate change until the rest of the world gets on board and takes action now. Not twenty years from now. May as well prioritize building a bubble over the city to control the climate. As Palo Altans we have probably done more than most to practice good environmental habits. Let's just leave it at that.

Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 8, 2022 at 5:39 am

Annette is a registered user.

@MBH - thank you for raising the issue of the high electricity consumption of bit coin. Crypto currency may be cool but the hidden cost of it is too high. Until that changes, Palo Alto cannot afford to transact in bit coin. Council Member Tanaka has done a good job of establishing himself as a fiscal hawk; this suggestion of his, though, runs contrary to that. Sure, the cost is electricity, not dollars, but it will take dollars to augment the grid to the point that it can service that demand in addition to all the other critical demands. I hope the balance of CC and others at City Hall dismiss the suggestion and zero staff time is spent studying PaloAltoCoin.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 12, 2022 at 8:51 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

McCormick is cited in this article about her concerns on housing - we are not doing enough. Yet she is cited in another article about selling our water to a city in a different county. We get back to the agendas of people who seek elective office who are single focused on some element of an advocacy groups desires vs the taxpayers in the city. That points to the taxpayers who follow a political party set of goals that do not ask the logical questions - if you want more housing then you need all of your water. Time for us to ask the questions and not sign up for "Advocacy - Group Think" which is destroying this state. Time for us to question our legislative elected members as to why they are voting as they do - just being part of the "gang" - or part of logical planning for all of the elements that a state needs to be successful. Top priorities include education for all of the new families, transportation - roads updated, bus lanes added to make El Camino a real transportation success, SAFETY - support for fire and police.

What does the city think they are going to do about CLIMATE? A city this size does not control climate - climate is controlled by the high level jet stream at upper levels. If you cannot figure that out look at your newspaper that has a whole page dedicated to the jet stream and it's effect on rain, snow, air movement. Just try keeping "junk" out of the water system, the bay, and streets.

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