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Huge rebuild planned for Stanford Med Center

Original post made by Hulkamania, Duveneck/St. Francis, on Nov 20, 2006

Yes!! Stanford University Medical Center, made up of Stanford Hospital and Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital are huge jewels in the peninsula's medical infastructure. They have an excellent international reputation that continues to grow. Hopefully there will be few hoops to jump through to get the medical center expanded.

Comments (23)

Posted by Pro-Stanford
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 21, 2006 at 6:19 am

I could not agree withyou more, Hulkamania. However nothing is ever easy here in PA. I am sure there will be much opposition (the usual gang complaining about too much traffic) and of course the city council will listen to them, since they tend to scream very loudly.
I am also sure that some people in PA would love to see the hospital move--remember the opposition to the building of the new cancer center a few years ago. These self-centered NIMBYists did not care that cnacer patients had to be treated in dark, dank rooms prior to the building of the new center. The only think that mattered was there "quality of life" and how things were in PA 20-30 yeras ago.
Also it will beinteresting to see how a certain city council member, who is known to be a notorious Stanford basher (according to him Stanford is the evil empire), will react to this issue.

Posted by Tom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 21, 2006 at 10:01 am

Great news! Smart planning! Stanford is looking 20 years ahead and "taking care of business".

Hey Palo Alto- this is what you should of been doing years ago with your retail tax base and city buildings.

Posted by Pro-Stanford
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 21, 2006 at 10:49 am

Right on Tom. Of course Stanford also realizes that the Palo Alto process will consume a significant number of years.
Palo Alto will pay the price for letting NIMBYists, so-called neighborhood leaders and single-issue people domintae the direction the city was going in. Now we have no retail base, crummy infrastructure, shoddy libraries etc.
the question is will the leaders in the city heed the call and see the light or will they continue to letthemsleves be led around by the nose by the above mentioned groups?

Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 21, 2006 at 3:26 pm

Thanks Pro... Stanford has a huge number of very dedicated people at the hospital and Packard Children's Hospital. Most of my experience has been with Packard. They do so much to help kids there that they deserve everything they're asking for plus 20 percent.

Hopefully the City, County and potential NIMBYs will understand what the Stanford Medical Center does for so many people and see their way clear to support the long needed facility upgrades.

Posted by Pro Stanford
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 22, 2006 at 6:19 am

It looks like the "Palo Alto Process" is kicking in already--Stanford would like to break ground in 2009--Kishimoto says this is too soon!!! That is 3 years from now--too soon?? Maybe too soon if you are enamored with the PA process.

Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 22, 2006 at 9:12 am

Someone should take her on a tour of Children's. Make sure she talks to the staff AND the parents. If the work they do for those kids doesn't turn her around then she has no heart.

Posted by Pro Stanford
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 22, 2006 at 9:48 am

i do not think she has a heart to begin with. Remember her real agenda is to put traffic calming measures and turn one of the cities main arteries into a one-way in each direction street. oh, yes, she just happens to live on that street also (Embarcedero Road). What better way then to lessen traffic on that road then by forcing Stanford Hospital to move.
Not sure what she means by the plan by stanford being "too mature". She is also quoted as saying: "It's way too preliminary to begin the development agreement and environmental impact report. We need to look at the comprehensive area plan first,". In other words lets put this through the Palo Alto Process so that Stanford hospital will miss it's 2012 state mandated deadline to be seismically safe.

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 22, 2006 at 10:01 am

It seems to me that Stanford is able to work miracles in the Palo Alto process, just look at the speed the Mayfield playing fields were done when they had started, and not to mention the Stadium. Yes there will be a lot of talk but somehow a deal will be made with the city and Stanford will get what it wants when it wants it and it will be much quicker than any of the other Palo Alto proposed developments. Who knows, Palo Alto may even benefit with the equivalent of more playing fields or something?

Posted by Periwinkle
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 22, 2006 at 5:49 pm

The talk here and on another thread of looking for concessions from Stanford to build a world class hospital are at the core of one of the maoin things that's wrong with Palo Alto's governance.

First, how is it that Stanford has been making these plans, probably for the better part of two years, and Palo Alto *just now* finds out about it?

That's a major failing on Palo Alto's part. It's a PRIMARY responsibility of policy makers and staff to be aware of stuff like this. One of the reasons we don't know about these things until the last minute is because we have typically put Stanford through hell every time it want to do development.

This project should go forward at all possible speed, and instead of looking for teeny trade-offs like playing feilds or additional gym space, why not use this opportunity as a catalyst to begin a NEW era of cooperation - DEEP cooperation - between Stanford and Palo Alto? Surely, there must be someone out there that sees this as a BIG OPPORTUNITY, instead of a burden.

We'd better start learning how to leverage opportunity here, and STOP the nonsense, delays, and small-vocal-group-naysayer nonsense that has kept our city from advancing, socially, economoically, and in many other ways.

Posted by Pro stanford
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 22, 2006 at 6:58 pm

Bravo, Periwinkle--you are so right. I hope the city council, city manager and the NIMBYists in PA read your post and take it too heart.
Unfortunately some council members sound they will be using this to try to leverage concessions regarding the foothills (which are Stanford's private property--but don;t tell that to a certain city council member who thinks the foothills belong to him).

Posted by HenrySr.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 23, 2006 at 7:34 pm

>First, how is it that Stanford has been making these plans, probably for the better part of two years, and Palo Alto *just now* finds out about it?

Its the first I hear about it from the newspapers, and right before the Christmas break. Really odd timing. But I am sure the city manager knew about it. He schedules things and the staff writes background papers. Maybe he thinks a million and a third square feet will slip in unnoticed. Maybe he's right and it will.

Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 25, 2006 at 5:09 pm

Based on the coverage in the PA Weekly (see link):
Web Link
it looks like one council member is so in love with the Palo Alto process that she is willing to have Stanford ignore a 2013 state mandate for a safe hospital. I am sure Ms Kishimoto would love to see this go through about 15-20 years of the usual PA scrutiny before the council will get to vote on it.
If this is the attitude that the rest of the council will have perhaps Stanford needs to start negotiatimg with other cities for a location to mive the hospital complex to
Although, the site of Ms Kishimoto trying to swallow a bowling ball ( as she compares the Stanford request to in the above story) would be a site to behold!!!

Posted by One in the house?
a resident of South of Midtown
on Nov 25, 2006 at 10:04 pm

>>Although, the site of Ms Kishimoto trying to swallow a bowling ball ( as she compares the Stanford request to in the above story) would be a site to behold!!!

And if she did, she'd need a good hospital to take care of her!

Posted by Another Voice
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 26, 2006 at 1:51 pm

I'd like to add a few responses to some of the comments posted on this thread so far.

First, blogs like this can be valuable vehicles for discussion of important topics in our community, but I wish that we could stick to discussing the policy issues and the positions of our representatives without succumbing to personal and even cruel attacks. It's perfectly legitmate to have strong disagreements with council members without calling someone "heartless", etc. These are our democratically elected representatives and we should show at least minimal respect for them and their offices even as we may disagree passionately with them.

While I share a long held and strong affinity for the hospital and children's hospital, I think that some of the writers aren't aware of the policy issues that are relevant. Our Comprehensive Plan calls for an "area study" to be done for this area including the hospitals and shopping center prior to the next major changes to the area. Expansions are also being considered for the Ronald Macdonald House, the shopping center and a hotel in this area. The Comprehensive Plan recognizes that it is preferable to look at the numerous major changes and their impacts in a cohesive manner. The question that the coucil needs to grapple with is, "what's the most timely, efficient and effective way to address these major changes?" I watched the coucil meeting and my sense was that all of the coucil members recognized the high value that the hospitals provide to our community and the region. The issues seemed to be more about what would be the best process for proceeding and what related issues should be considered. The main process issue seemed to be whether the city manager should be given the authority to negotiate a development agreement without an area plan being done and without an Environmental Impact Report. It may be that he should be given the authority to proceed as he proposed, but our elected officials would be remiss if they didn't give full consideration of these process issues.

As far as the staff being blindsided by this proposal, it's been widely understood that Stanford has been working for some time to develop their initial concept of their proposal. Many people have known that they were needing to reconstruct the hospital due to the state seismic requirements and that other changes would be proposed at the same time. The possible shopping center expansion and hotel possibility have been reported in the press in recent months. Stanford reached the point where they were ready to unveil the concept of what they'd be seeking to build. I think that nothing had been reported in the press because there really wasn't anything substantive to report. We're still very early in this process and Stanford seems to recognize that.

Posted by Periwinkle
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 26, 2006 at 3:13 pm

Another Voice, While there is public process and diligence involved for the Stanford Hospital proposal, and that all members of Council speaking to the issue at hand recognized the importance of the project (how could anyone not?), it was hard to miss the nascent beginnings of the 'Palo Alto Process' for the hospital proposal. As evoked by some Council members, one could already begin to smell "delay and obfuscation" as a shot across the bow of this project.

Why did our City Council not kow about this project two years ago? Why haven't our ocity staff and officials been included in the early phases of much of Stanford's planning process on this project, so that we're up to speed and ready to hit the ground running? I think you know the answer to that. If you don't, here's one word that sums it up..."meddling". Yes, that's the word, and it comes - in this and other cases like it - from a complete misunderstanding about how to leverage power and community resources *that already exist* in ways that can create win-win opportunities for everyone.

As for "nothing being reported in the press" about the hospital, no intelligent citizen should be buying that as an excuse for our City Council and city staff not bringing this forward as a public issue to be dealt with, and to engage Stanford on, *before* it was announced. There are many ways that something like this could be dealt with prior to official announcement. Again, we had better clue ourselves in to how large an opportunity this could be, and find ways to help the project go forward without delay. We shuold be negotiating a quick resolution to some of the issues raised, ,and **doing so in a way that will help Stanford have faith that Palo Alto is going forward as a PARTNER in this project**, instead of an obstacle.

Palo Alto had better get a grip on the few big opportunities it has left to keep this from becoming a stagnant place that just barely keeps up with its needs, intead of what we're still capable of becoming - a regional beacon of forward-thinking municipal innovation that engages our neighbors, including Stanford, in ways that generates opportunity for all.

Coming at this from a direction of pure pragmatism, with no personal interest whatsoever in any initiative that Stanford is or has been engaged in, this writer senses that there has been a *significant* failure on the part of our community to productively engage Stanford on all matter of issues.

Our policy makers and city staff are elected/hired to be on top of "what's going on *behind* the scenes", where policy is architected, and power brought to bear. Why shold the "makers" of policy and opportunity have to read the papers to find out what's going on? We have been able to afford a kind of comfortable passivity for decades, but those days are gone. I, for one, am tired of seeing our local government *reacting to crisis*, instead of *creating opportunity*.

Hearing the "wheels of negotiated concession" turning at last week's Council meeting, as one Council member after another spouted about open space, housing, etc. etc. concessions - i.e. how much we can "get" from Stanford in exchange for not getting in it's way - was indicative of the lack of large strategic thinking that has long plagued past City Councils . Council members are well-meaning, and have - to be fair - focused well on some crucial issues. However, in this case, "well-meaning" is as far as it goes, with a few exceptions. Bern Beecham made more sense than anyone last week, warning that we shuoldn't turn our backs on this opportunity and muck it up with process. On issues like this, we need more Beecham's.

Posted by Another Voice
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 26, 2006 at 5:19 pm

Periwinkle, I don't want to seem contentious, but you seem to be transforming many suppositions into knowledge. Stanford choose this timing to present their initial concept. That doesn't mean that our staff hasn't been aware of their general intentions nor does it mean that there has been no dialogue between them and our staff on the subject.

As with any major project, there is a certain time when an applicant chooses to present it for preliminary review. That's all that just occurred. Stanford, our staff and our city council all recognize that this is a very large and complex issue. Let's hold our powder for the moment. It's probably more constructive for us to participate in the process by providing our input on what we believe should occur based on what we yet know rather than rush to judgement on things that we're only assuming.

Posted by Periwinkle
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 26, 2006 at 8:03 pm

Another Voice, Contentious? Not at all. You're expressing an opinion.

In fact, your own words have helped make what you label 'suppositions', common knowledge. Again, why are our policy makers *just now* finding out about this project in a way that compels them to make *late-stage* decisions as regards the impact of the Stanford Hospital project, environmental or otherwise - especially if what you imply about City staff knowledge of this project is accurate. If accurate, your statements would seem to imply that there has been little back and forth between staff and Council during the the early to late middle planning stages of this project. How accurate is your knowledge in this regard, about staff/Stanford interaction? If you're sure about this, doesn't it trouble you that 'policy making' and 'operations' are not communicating? The whole thing seemed a surprise to City Council.

Wouldn't it be better that this kind of planning be accomplished *from the very start* with all necessary partners on board? If the latter had been the case, one Council member's comments about bowling balls probably wouldn't have been made. Very possibly, our City Council would have had a working subcommittee coordinating with Stanford when the project started, a few years ago. We'd be further ahead for that. Why this *doesn't* happen has been the topic of prior posts. It doesn't happen because Stanford is probably tired of having to walk the gauntlet of "process" that is set up every time Stanford want to do something.

To be clear, my general beef is more about the seeming "surprises" and crises that have been unfolding for the last 4 years-or-so, with City Council and staff kept somewhat off balance by not being on top of things. The Stanford Hospital project is the last in a line of these recent events. btw, all this doesn't imply incompetence - not at all. Rather, it suggests a need to be far more aggressive about doing what needs to be done to get more "insider" status with Stanford, and our municipal neighbors (another post). We have to do a better job at this; there's no reason why that can't be done. What it takes is will, and persistence.

Sure, let the process unfold - what other choice does anyone have, other than stopping the project, which isn't going to happen. But lets unfold it without making a complex origami beforehand.

Posted by Another Voice
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 27, 2006 at 8:43 am

Periwinkle, the only further clarification that I'd add at this time is that we're not at a "late stage" in this process. This is actually a very early stage. When this returns to the council in a couple of weeks, then we might have arrived at "1st base".

As to the participation of council members prior to now, I think that they are mindful as elected officials to try to conduct the public's business in public.

Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 27, 2006 at 10:41 am

"It's perfectly legitmate to have strong disagreements with council members without calling someone "heartless", etc."

Council members should be required to take my suggested tour of Children’s Hospital. Once they see how many kids are helped through illnesses that wouldn't be wished on the worst of the worst and see how much more can be done, there should be no question on expansion of the Medical Center.

If any council member does invoke the “Palo Alto Process” to stall or stop the much needed improvements and expansion then “heartless” is a too kind description of them.

Take a tour Another Voice. It’ll change your life.

Posted by Pro Stanford
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 27, 2006 at 10:48 am

Another Voice is one of the many PA residents who believes that any criticism of those in power is tantamount to a personal attack.
These people are elected public officials and I personally, do have minimal respect for them.
Another Voice should also realize that we are living in a democracy and these so-called personal attacks are part of our rights as free citizens.

Periwinkle and Hulkamania are right to be concerned since it sounds already that the PA process will be invoked and coun cil members will try to wring "concessions" from Stanford for this project.
It is too bad that the elected officials, that Another Voice, holds in such high regard, have failed to do what is best for PA in the past and it looks like they are going down that road again.

Posted by Periwinkle
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 27, 2006 at 10:56 am

Another Voice, I get your meaning. To better clarify mine, please understand that there are various stages in a process. *This* stage (the first part), had a beginning and an end.

A LOT of planning gets burned into the first stages of project plans, especially something as large as the Stanford that in cases like this it's a huge time and late-stage planning advantage to have all partners aware of what's going on *from the beginning*.

I stand by my contention that if Palo Alto is to have a truly coooperative and productive future with Stanford, we have to do FAR better in convincing that entity that we (Palo Alto) are interested in win-win, instead of delay. THis will take will, leadership, and courage on the part of City Council, and staff.

Again, we're talking about changing the nature of the game that has been played between these two entities, for years. Let's take this opportunity and turn it into something other than grinding for concessions; let's make it bigger than that.

Posted by Another Voice
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 28, 2006 at 3:55 pm

Periwinkle, I appreciate your comments about working toward win-win outcomes. I think and hope that our community can be both "pro-Stanford" and "pro-Palo Alto".

Hulkamania, I don't think that the issue is primarily one of being for or against the Children's Hospital. Even the most meritorious of projects have impacts that need to be understood and addressed. Stanford understands this fully. We recently had the very large Center for Jewish Life proceed through approvals in an efficient manner and it ended up incorporating changes that all parties agreed resulted in mitigating its impacts and making it a better project. BTY, your assertion that my life would be changed if I took a tour of the Children's Hospital is a bit presumptuos. As I stated previously, I'm a longtime supporter of both hospitals and I've spent many hours there over the lifetime of our children.

Pro Stanford, I'm not sure that I can do much to change your misrepresentations of what I said and meant about what is appropriate criticism. A re-read of my prior posting makes it clear that I consider even strong criticism to be perfectly valid and I agree that it is among our most important rights as free citizens. However, demeaning personal attacks on the character of people is what I characterized as being inappropriate and I think that they actually detract from the benefits that free speech provides. In addition, it was my understanding it was a rule of this blog that personal attacks would be excluded by the editors.

Anyway, I'd be glad to continue dialogue on the substance of the issue, but I've probably said as much as I will on these other aspects.

Posted by Pro Stanford
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 29, 2006 at 6:15 am

So what does Another Voice consider to be a "personal and cruel attack"? I have re-read all the posts and do not see anything that fits into that category. Does Another Voice consider the comment that Ms Kishimoto is heartless as a "personal and cruel attack"?If so, Another Voice needs to stop wallowing in his PA-driven political correctness.

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