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Council candidate pool grows to 14 in Palo Alto

Original post made on Aug 13, 2009

Lawyers, realtors and education activists are dominating a crowded field of 14 Palo Altans seeking seats on the City Council in November.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, August 13, 2009, 10:01 AM

Comments (29)

Posted by High Speed Rail watcher
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 13, 2009 at 6:22 pm

I just started researching the candidates. I found that Dan Dykwel is a member of ALPA (Alliance for Livable Palo Alto). The agenda for their last meeting states that their High Speed Rail initiative is tunneling of tracks with development above.

Web Link

Anyone know where other potential City Council members stand on High Speed Rail?

I believe this issue should be front and center during this City Council race.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 13, 2009 at 10:21 pm

That's good info, Hsr watcher. I'm not voting for Dykwel. Scharf looks interesting. I'm looking for someone who will not raise utilities. Scharf seems like the person.

a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 13, 2009 at 10:47 pm

As an employee of the city, I will be voting for Frost. This city needs a major shakeup.

Posted by Disappointed
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 14, 2009 at 7:14 am

I'm voting for any candidate who supports reducing the number of Council persons from nine to seven. I'm disappointed Gary Fazzino is not running because he has expressed support for reducing the size of our City Council. In this City we have quantity not quality!!

Posted by My take
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 14, 2009 at 10:14 am

Let's start out by charging an application fee. If Palo Alto charged a legitimate candidacy fee as other communities do, we would have a better pool of candidates than we have now.

Larry Klein has got to go. He is stale and set in his ways.

Posted by Mike Cobb, former Mayor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 14, 2009 at 10:43 am

Be wary of candidates who state that the 'solution' to the high speed rail impact problem is to put it underground. There are two reasons why that is a very unlikely outcome: (1) cost, and (2) the fact that, to get it underground requires a very shallow grade going down and coming back up ... given that, if we were to be undergrounded, Menlo Park and Atherton will expect the same, this means that both Mt. View and Redwood will have to agree to very long and large holes in their communities to accommodate our wish to have it underground — something that I submit is very unlikely. So, the candidates need to be asked what their response is if the HSR Authority determines, as they surely will, that it must be above ground (why do you think they want eminent domain power?) What we need are candidates who see the reality of the situation and fight for us to the end of either (a) making San Jose the end point or (b) getting the routing decision revisited with the goal of returning to Altamont Pass alternative which was supported by, among others, leading environmental groups. This issue should be a primary focus of the coming campaign.

Posted by Response to Mike Cobb
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 14, 2009 at 11:04 am

Regarding a High Speed Rail tunnel, there is enough distance for the rail to emerge from a tunnel at Charleston to the at grade station at San Antonio Road. The distance is about 3700 feet, which allows a rise of 37 feet at a 1% grade.

Posted by Me Too
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 14, 2009 at 11:06 am

Well said, Mike. It is easy for candidates (and elected officials) to spout off "novel solutions" but wicked hard to actually get things done. I would like people with a track record and temperament for actually getting projects done. We need block and tackle execution and attention to boring details, not big ideas.

Posted by Mike Cobb, former Mayor
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 14, 2009 at 11:36 am

To the first response to my original comment. Assuming your numbers are correct, if the tunnel starts at Charleston, then the south end of that big hole in the ground will be largely in Palo Alto and come out of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood. So think about how many people south of Charleston would have to lose their homes and how much the neighborhood would be negatively impacted. And, by the way, the required right of way isn't the 75 ft we have heard about, it is more like 120 ft (based on studies in Southern California). This 'solution' also begs the question of Redwood City and would still require support from Mt. View. A flawed idea ... and still almost surely a non-starter.

Posted by Charlie
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 14, 2009 at 11:44 am

John Hackmann introduced himself to me in a coffee shop yesterday; seemed like a very nice and sincere guy. Before you complain about the people who are running, "My Take", take a moment to think if you would be willing to dedicate 30 hours a week do serve your city. I, for one, am grateful that people are willing to to enter public service when it just means you set yourself up for criticism and public yammering.

The filing deadline has just passed and we all have a lot to learn about the various candidates and what they stand for, so let's not jump to who we are voting for based on limited knowledge and just one issue. Give them a chance to share their vision before you cut someone off.

Posted by Down With Bureaucracy
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 14, 2009 at 2:30 pm

Victor Frost for the win!

Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 14, 2009 at 3:30 pm

Yes, Victor Frost for the win. He disrves the oppertunity. Who knows , he will be a big asset to palo alto.

Posted by Floyd
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 14, 2009 at 4:46 pm

While I would like a tunnel for the HSR, I think that the only defensible solutions are those stated by Mike Cobb.
For Palo Alto or any of the towns along the proposed route , eminent domain is a pretty scary concept.
I rode the TGV from Paris to Lyon and from Strasbourg to Paris ( all at ground level) and do not remember cutting through any communities.

Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 14, 2009 at 8:00 pm

The Weekly could do a real community service by opening up a community forum for the candidates. My view of it would be that it be split into two parts:

1. An open forum for the public to propose questions, and offer opinions.

2. A closed forum for the candidates to offer answers to those questions and opinions, should they choose to do so.

Aside from the general community interest, it would allow me to ascertain those candidates who are the least socialist.

I should mention, I find it interesting that Mike Cobb, our former mayor, is taking a stance against a major socialist project, HSR. Apparently, he sees that eminent domain cuts in more than one direction. Too bad he is not running, again...I might consider voting for him.

Well, we are probably going to get what we deserve (the Berlin Wall), because our socialist leaders supported it. I give Cobb credit for waking up and taking a stance. He is too late, and it will get built, but at least he has taken a stand. Any other candidates out there willing to take a stand?

Posted by Barney
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 15, 2009 at 11:15 am

This is the time for Victor Frost to clean up the mess at Palo Alto City Hall. Victory for Victor!

Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 15, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Gary: Great idea for online forums!

HSR is certainly a major issue. Others:
- city master plan and zoning
- large city staff with salaries and benefits we cannot afford
- transfer of utilities money (collected from our ever-increasing rates) to the general fund
- business tax

WRT business tax, Councilman Klein is quoted in today’s Daily Post saying that the campaign against the business tax has few supporters.

Posted by GRANT
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 16, 2009 at 6:39 am


Posted by Mongo
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 16, 2009 at 8:41 am

I'd vote for Victor Frost. If he can apply a similar ability to make intelligent decisions, an ability that turned his life into such a smashing success, to the issues facing Palo Alto, the city would become just as successful as Victor.

Posted by Interested Follower
a resident of Walter Hays School
on Aug 16, 2009 at 9:28 am

My understanding is that Nancy Shepherd is running, in part, due to the High Speed Rail initiative because she does not want to see (further) divisiveness in an otherwise astute and prominent city like PA. In addition, she has questioned the (possibly negative) impact that 9 council members poses and questions the benefit of lowering the number to 7.

I appreciate the dedication of all candidates, especially those who have already proven their dedication to tireless and often thankless volunteering for this city.

Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 16, 2009 at 10:48 am

Interested Follower: You say Nancy Shepherd questions the impact of 9 council members, but also questions lowering the number to 7. That leaves me wondering what she would support.

We should be cautious of stating candidates’ positions and let them speak for themselves.

BTW, Los Altos, Cupertino and Menlo Park have 5 council members, Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Menlo Park have 7.

Posted by grant
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 16, 2009 at 11:12 pm

san mateo has five council members

Posted by Tony C
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Aug 17, 2009 at 10:54 am

Those of you who are interested in the facts please attend the Peninsula Cities Consortium meetings.
Stopping HSR in San Jose: This will increase Cal train ridership to SF with trains on grade with all of the accidents not mitigated. We would likely see 20 peak hour trains in each direction with East West trffic at a standstill not to mention bikes and school traffic. Please note that Cal Train does not have money budgeted to grade seperate, not even the "Berlin Wall"

Undergrounding the tracks is not feasable because it costs too much:
Berkeley did it in the 60s with a sales tax increase and other cities that want a different solution than the CHSRA default one can do so if they pay for the marginal costs.
Several mechanisms exist. 1). Sales tax increase. 2) Assessment district for properties along the Right of way. 3) Sale of air rights of the area above the undergrounded tracks.
We as a community should come together and understand the trade offs and then choose one.
Grades to underground are too steep to protect our neighborhoods from the "Berlin Wall": HSR uses a 3% grade and can easily get underground in Palo Alto.

I hope we can do better than the default HSR Solution.

Larry Klein and Brian Steen are the only candidates I know of that have made HSR through Palo Alto a priority in their campaigns.

Posted by South PA Resident
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 17, 2009 at 11:21 am

Raising HSR at Charleston may work for north Palo Ato. But it would be TERRIBLE for the south end of town. Could we please approach this as a community problem for once...and not suggest solutions that serve only the north end of town? For heavens sake, we are ONE community.

I think the route needs to be completely reconsidered.

Posted by Barney
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2009 at 6:27 pm

Mongo, Victor Frost would keep the City's operating costs down, just as he has for his own personal budget. He would also fight to keep the sidewalks clean and even heated in winter and colled in summer if that was feasible throughout the city. These would be great improvements over what the current City Council has been able to do. Victor Front for City Council!

Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 17, 2009 at 11:51 pm

Is it just me (a relative newcomer) or does Palo Alto have a disproportionally large number of council members? Of course, we Stanford residents cannot vote, so it's rather a moot point. But I can't help but be curious why so many for a city this size....

Posted by Jo Ann
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 18, 2009 at 12:01 pm

I agree with Gary's suggestion above that the candidates participate in a Q&A session on the real issues.

Posted by Utah
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 19, 2009 at 6:39 am

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a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 19, 2009 at 6:41 am

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Posted by Marilyn
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 28, 2009 at 2:25 pm

John Hackman is the only candidate who wants cut spending.
Thank goodness he is running for city council.
Palo Alto spends much too much and needs to examine
it's spending.

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