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New budget spells cuts for Palo Alto animal services

Original post made on Jun 19, 2012

Higher water rates, a Fire Department with fewer firefighters, a host of fee increases and an animal-services operation trembling under the budget ax are some of the most prominent features of the 2013 budget that Palo Alto officials unanimously approved Monday night.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, June 19, 2012, 12:18 AM

Comments (44)

Posted by poor living in PA
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 19, 2012 at 7:42 am

It costs a fortune to live here. It hasn't always been this way. I have lived here for 46 years. The cost of living in PA, the ubiquitous increases were the result of people making lots and lots and lots of money and moving on in. Why do the Firefighters, (public safety), needy animals, (public safety), artists, community gardeners, and the thirsty people have to pay the price? Where is all the money? I'd love to see an article that says, Mr So-So of Blah blah multi million dollar business will have to let go of his private jet and small island in the caribbean. Palo Alto is trying to "save."

Posted by Wagnot Wantnot
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 19, 2012 at 10:15 am

This is a highly valuable Palo Alto resource that not only shelters animals in need, but also provides lower cost spay and neuter services. These services are critical to managing the animal population. Take this away and the "costs" will only become greater with more unwanted animals on your door steps. Shame on you Palo Alto for as rich as you are!

Posted by a concerned neighbor
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 19, 2012 at 10:25 am

I find it very enlightening (or maybe discouraging) when the city manager is proposing high cuts to fire, police, and the animal shelter as well as raising the rates for water and other utilities and services but never mentions taking a cut in his own salary, the Chief Financial Officer's salary or any of his staff salaries or cutting any of the city staff positions to help with budget shortfalls. Shouldn't the belt tightening go across the board?

Posted by Cur Mudgeon
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 19, 2012 at 10:26 am

why is our already stressed out city taking over the airport?
Private aircraft are more important than animal welfare, of course.
Even though they pollute more.

Posted by Nancy Anders
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 19, 2012 at 10:33 am

Maybe if Mr. Keene stopped adding new high level, high paid management to the city payroll, we would have enough money to run the necessary services. Really -- how many managers do we need to run a city this size? And why so many consultants? Am I the only one that finds it odd that we have so many $100,000+ managers and still need to hire consultants? And that is not even including the retired managers that come back! How many non mgmt employees do we have? What is the employee to mgmt ratio?

Posted by Old Town Paly Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 19, 2012 at 10:46 am

The Animal Services are needed in Palo Alto to help support not only the homeless and hurt animals but to also preserve the licensing, spay & neuter clinics, and various other services this pet friendly community needs!!! PLEASE find a way to save our animal shelter!

Posted by amy
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 19, 2012 at 11:03 am

Encourage pet owners to get a city license for their pets. This would bring in some revenue. I agree with the comment regarding decreased use of consultants for issues that should be addressed by city employees/the City Council.

Posted by John Galt
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 19, 2012 at 11:15 am

$153 Million, what was last year's budget and the year before? Convienietly omitted from this story.

Posted by So many managers
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 19, 2012 at 11:21 am

Mr Keene just hired SIX people (several are managers) for the Development Center.

Posted by rem
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 19, 2012 at 11:50 am

rem is a registered user.

I AGREE with Nancy Anders one hundred percent (100%). The City Management want to take money from everyone else BUT their self!!

How about City Management taking a fifty percent (50 %) pay cut.. Du!!!!!!

Consultants need to go - STOP HIRING THEM. Look at the "butching" on San Antonio Road. Beautiful Trees - gone - because the Consultant/Arborrist said so... Well the go their money and "ran"!!!

Posted by svatoid
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 19, 2012 at 11:51 am

Every penny counts--cut the subsidy to the Children's Theatre, stop the study for the bike bridge over 101, no subsidy for the summer concert series etc.
We now have to pay for the irresponsibility of past and present council members.

Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 19, 2012 at 12:22 pm

I imagine that is near impossible to do this, but it would be an interesting study:

Of all of the programs that CPA subsidizes, what is the per capita subsidy amount. Not by number of times utilized, rather calculate by the number of single individuals (1 use or x-number uses) on annual basis.

For example, there is quite the debate going over the Children's Theater and its $1mil subsidy. I may be off a little here so I welcome the actual count, but I believe it has been mentioned that there are about 400 kids involved in PACT. That's $2500 per person.

Holy guacamole! I'd sure love to start a kids program and get that kind of subsidy.

It's not just Animal Services that needs a haircut. Unfortunately we need to concentrate our budget on the benefits to the greater good - not a small-subset of our community.

Posted by FEH!
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 19, 2012 at 12:29 pm

1) The article in the Merc about this said that not enough people wrote to the council to protest the rate increases.

2) Friday's PA Weekly "Around Town" column said the city got "dozens" of letters protesting the rate hike "which would be instituted on Monday."

If they knew they were going to institute the hike, why go through the charade of requesting public comment?

3) I suggest that the city drive around and look at how FEW homes have all 3 refuse cans out. Since we are charged PER CAN, it might become clear even to them that they're charging us for unused services.

4) I wish we could protest the high cost and mismanagement in some meaningful way like Mountain View did with Animal Services.

Unfortunately, the city does NOT believe that every penny counts. Yet again -- for like the 10th year in a row -- the closed half the dog park to reseed it. Now -- yet again -- they're neglecting to water the new grass. Guess what happens to grass in this heat if you neglect to water it??>?

Posted by Disgusted by the priorities
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 19, 2012 at 12:51 pm

This job opening is currently posted on the PA website:

Powered by NEOGOV
Closing Date/Time: Continuous
Salary: $30.00 - $50.00 Hourly
$5,200.00 - $8,666.67 Monthly
$62,400.00 - $104,000.00 Annually
Job Type: Limited Hourly
Location: Children's Theatre, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto, CA 94301, California

Print Job Information | Apply

Description Benefits Supplemental Questions

May perform work associated or equal in complexity with responsible City managerial or staff position. Classification may be used for individuals involved in confidential areas involved with employee relations, labor relations, and other discreet/confidential projects. Compensation to be determined according to tasks assigned and qualifications required.

In the context of the Theatre, this position reports to the Managing Artistic Director and is responsible for activities commensurate with the reporting relationship. As part of the City of Palo Alto, the ideal candidate will have experience working within or with government purchasing, human resources and other administrative services.

Ideal Candidate:
The ideal candidate will have experience working in theatre or arts program administration. It is essential that the candidate is comfortable working in an enviornment serving children.

This position requires non-traditional work schedule including weekend and evning shifts.

If you have any inquiries about this position please contact Judge Luckey at (650) 463-4932 or contact Human Resources Department at (650) 329-2376.

$104,000 "Management Specialist" to manage the children's theater while they think of closing the Animal Shelter???? Why aren't the parents of the children using the theater subsidizing the theater?

Posted by Barbara
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 19, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Palo Alto needs to cut management positions by half, and STOP hiring consultants - what is management for? Such a waste of money. . . perhaps a new budget/money management team is what the City needs. PLEASE KEEP THE ANIMAL SHELTER GOING!

Posted by Gunn Class of '67
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 19, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Key to solution is cutting out PA admin of donor funds. Concept worked phenomenally well with Los Gatos school system. Insisted we set up non-profit foundation, eliminating top-heavy bureaucratic admin notorious for diluting funds with committees, overhead; even diversion. Create working board of passionate creative folks, include experts - e.g., accountant, lawyer, start-up marketing type. Am sure
Anna Eshoo would expedite IRS non-profit approval - as did Congressman Mike Honda for us - in 3 weeks.
Create/adapt model that worked for us.
Because enormous school bond-funded retrofit simultaneously underway,
our focus was furnishing classroom/teacher needs. Raised cash through annual auction - local businesses donated items to auction, individuals donated services etc. (e.g., week at donor-owned Tahoe house).
Teachers made very specific grant applications directly to our foundation, we'd review apps. Met goal of reserving cash disbursal by taking advantage of alternative resources; we'd weed through dozens of online opportunities, search community resources. With minor modifications, every application was approved. Foundation funded new fine arts wing, state-of-the-art remodel of historical theater; at present, endowment fund exists for future.
Several teacher/coach apps requested intervention for shoddy construction. Effort paid off enormously - repairs made.

Do the same with your fund raising for the humane society. You'll
succeed. Offered viable benefit fundraiser to humane society through city just last week. Emails to address on city card bounced - no surprise. Creative solutions come from community, not bureaucracy.

Posted by Michael
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 19, 2012 at 1:34 pm

City government is incapable of operating efficiently. Start outsourcing to the private sector.

The city pays somebody 100K in total compensation to drive the streetsweeper truck (and more when our children get stuck paying his bloated pension).

The private sector will handle this function for 1/2 the cost.

This is just one example. The city payroll is rife with 150K bureaucrats and 100K admins. The city govt. payroll should be cut 80% and the void filled by the private sector.

Posted by Gunn Class of '67
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 19, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Gunn Class of '67 is a registered user.

RE post by Disgusted by the priorities, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood...
Right on! To solicit contract worker for " associated or equal in complexity with responsible City managerial et al..."; Replace managerial.... with bureaucracy - self-defined complex is understatement. Consider what seems apparent - major bureaucratic priority is pensions...

Posted by We need traffic enforcement
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2012 at 3:39 pm

And what about police service? City of Palo Alto currently has a shortage of officers available for patrol, traffic, investigations, and other important tasks. The department is down "approximately 18 working positions or 20% of the department" we heard at one of the Finance Committee meetings. They are reducing traffic enforcment. Aghhhhh!

So...although they are not cutting officers, they are leaving positions made vacant through retirements, etc. empty. FIRST priority of the city should be public safety.

Posted by DDee
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 19, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Nancy Anders says it all!
I'd only add that it is the same upside down prioritizing that our geniuses have afflicted the entire country with.

How much gets put back into the local economy in taxes, business, shopping, etc by paying 6 or 10 burocrats 6 and 7 figures, then hiring out-of-area "consultants" every time there is a serious or tough decision to be made? (Consultants who, by the way, have no degree of accountability to the electorate or citizenry and can easily be involved in major conflicts of interest or simply bad thinking that sounds really good on paper! The tragi-comedy of the new Bay Bridge is an example.)

We are better served by KEEPING ALL of our 5 figure staffs intact and getting the benefit of hands on service, the money that they recycle into the local economy, people keeping their jobs, stability, etc.

Privatizing only drives down the surrounding area's wages and standard of living. Fine if you are sitting pretty, not so smart if you are one the majority who depend upoin a paycheck to meet your obligations.

Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 19, 2012 at 4:46 pm

"why is our already stressed out city taking over the airport?"

Same reason it's spending bucubux for an anerobic digester we don't need: municipal ego. Staff and councilmembers get more points for having airports and big shiny facilities at League of Cities conferences than for cops, firefighters, and "dog pounds."

Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 19, 2012 at 5:15 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

One thing that cities all over the US are watching is the Colorado fight over FEES and TAXES.

Colorado created TABOR and State legislators have been creating FEES to get around the word TAX.

Now a lawsuit has been filed:

Web Link

At stake: over $150 MILLION in " fees " collected illegally.

I recommend that the wording of FEES need to be changed to TAXES.

Otherwise the word FEE may have consequences in the City of Palo Alto's future...And that would be the HONEST thing to do....

Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Jun 19, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Gosh, let me deliberate for a moment on the importance of a children's theatre or the lives of dogs, cats, and other creatures. Clearly those funds should be redirected to the PAAS. First things first, and life should trump art, as vital as art is to a community. Surely interested citizens can subsidize the theatre.

Posted by William Warrior
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 19, 2012 at 8:58 pm

I wish to again thank our community for their passionate support of Animal Services now and in years past. You have been for 33 years my eyes and ears on the ground in the service of animals in distress, and your tax dollar support of our division of the Police Department is like no other in California. Being as I am engaged in the field work leaves me little time to read the dailies and editorials, so this evenings' read is a rare one. I was taken not entirely by surprise by the reports here of six-figure salaries allocated to positions in our city that will never involve getting down and dirty and breaking bones and bleeding for us. It is a fact that such unappealing work commands a lesser salary--a salary that in my case the City has officially admitted is inadequate to the work performed. This is not an issue in times like these when having any sort of valuable employment in an economic depression is a great gift. Regardless of whatever takeaways we may suffer to help balance the budget, it is worth it. I find it particularly galling however, when I am given grief by my bosses for putting in for an hour of overtime (at $39.00), and being taken to task for not working more efficiently while the management continues to engage in needless waste and excess at a rate far higher than my $39 an hour.
A case in point:
Our city police vehicles are equipped with laptop computers to aid in the receiving of calls and the writing of reports. A few years back, my vehicle was burglarized and the laptop stolen from its "security housing"--the thief actually ripped the entire mounting unit from the floor of the truck... A police investigation located the suspect, who later plead no-contest. The City was invited by the courts to submit a claim against the convicted party for the loss, estimated at $5000.00. I received this request and repeatedly forwarded it to my superiors with negative result: quite simply no one in the City could be bothered to address the Court about the loss of a $5000 mobile desk top computer, yet The City spares no effort to routinely berate me and my rank and file coworkers over the expense of an hour of overtime in the service of citizens requests for assistance (in my case it always starts with the budget office lamenting to my bosses “…Why is it always Bill…”). Am I missing something? Perhaps I cannot see the forest for the trees, but then I first became confused by all of this after they clear-cut California Avenue.

Posted by Steve C
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jun 19, 2012 at 9:40 pm

My guess would be the dog nazis are behind this, figuring it will rid the city of the dogs they find so offensive.

Posted by Maya
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 20, 2012 at 7:39 am

Can any of this information, (relevant) considerations, and findings get into the right hands and be used to do something to ward off cuts to these critical aspects of our once fine community? If you have ever found a puppy shuddering in the tanbark at Walter Hays or been the victim of an injury which required PAFD and Medics then there is NO way you would consider cutting these 2 services in particular. Once you have been knocked out of your shoes and laid helpless in the street, it becomes ever so much more clear that we need to add to our Fire/Medical/Police not diminish their services. Water increases, probably not worth fighting at the city level but the others, PAFD, PAPD, Animal Shelter, Gardens, Art Studio....must stay or and their budgets fully financed. Get me one of those Sarah Mclachalan animal videos and a petition and I will sign!
If a 1 woman shelter in Mexico can do it Palo Alto should be able to find a way,
Web Link

Posted by jardins
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 20, 2012 at 2:06 pm

It's time to get the city council to fire James Keene.

He's acting irresponsibly by creating those new and very highly-paid positions.

He's not behaving as the city council's employee--or as the employee of tax-paying residents of Palo Alto. Instead, HE's calling the shots--and he's denying us the priorities that we have had since long before he arrived in town.

Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 20, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Serious questions, after reading these thoughtful posts:

What can be done about the *waste of money* that so many here comment on?

Can't you pressure your elected officials for budget cuts of the higher paid city employees, or get rid of the city manager, manage the spending on high paid consultants?

Is it a matter of getting organized, pressuring your city council to take action & go from there?

I've seen the prudent budget cuts at Stanford, in my own city & in other local cities. I know that there's always someone displeased by budget news, but it seems Palo Alto's gotten out of hand & all of your smart, hard-working people are rightly unhappy.

Posted by Politicizing the budget
a resident of another community
on Jun 20, 2012 at 11:25 pm

Where are the budget numbers for comparisons to last year and the year before?

Why isn't the increase in revenue since 2010-2011 to 2912 mentioned?

Why is there no analysis of manager to employee ratios?

Since when is budget analysis based on a vague quote?

How is it that the employees continue to take cuts... but the growing number of excessively paid managers do not?

Does the three percent increase begin to cover costs?

Posted by michele
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 21, 2012 at 6:56 am

"The operation is in dire financial straits because of Mountain View's decision last year to terminate its partnership in Palo Alto's animal shelter and to join the Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority in Santa Clara. The move will deprive Palo Alto of the $470,000 in annual contributions it has been receiving from Mountain View."

I am getting VERY tired of the media trend toward making Palo Alto Animal Services a poor, martyred organization because Mt. View ended their contract. Mt. View ended their contract because Palo Alto Animal Services did not provide decent services to Mt. View, and Mt. View got tired of paying Neiman Marcus prices for WalMart quality.

If the city has an actual interest in understanding and taking action at PAAS based on empirical evidence and not conjecture, try taking a look at the spay/neuter clinic, the over-bloated full-time employees who are dog breeders, and the superintendent who is NOT a leader. A nice person, but not a leader.

1. Bonnie Yoffee is running the shelter, and stealing taxpayers (and the employees who will be cut) money.

2. The rumor that the vet techs are "too slow" is ridiculous. They arrive before 6AM, check in animals from 6-7:30, and are READY TO BEGIN revenue-generating surgery at 8 AM. Problem? Bonnie waltzes in around 9 or 9:15, leaving a full hour and a half of potential revenue generating surgery time dead.

3. The city talked about eliminating the redundant job of Connie U. Fact. The union controls the jobs, so Cody M., an outstanding, caring, and person who works well beyond the job, will be cut. Why? Because he came later than Connie, who does what? Control the budget? Oh wait.

4. And FINALLY, why in the hell is a citizen's group supposed to save the shelter. The shelter employees need to get off their a**es and make changes, which will not happen, because most are lazy and just "let things happen." From the beginning, they've been sitting there like ostriches with their heads in the sand, just "waiting" and feeling sorry for themselves because of big mean Mountain View, now cast as some sort of pariah for actually asking for real SERVICES in exchange for 1/2 million dollars a year.

ENOUGH. Get the city involved - conduct an investigation into why no revenue is generated. Find out why Sandy is in bed with Bonnie and it's AOK that she arrive after 9AM while animals have been waiting a good hour and a half for their day to begin. Stop blaming everyone and get the shelter new blood, or close it.

Find out why when Diane Pearson left, who wrote a weekly column for the Daily, that Sandy put an end to it saying "we are too busy." Doing WHAT? Diane was spectacularly hard-working and still managed to write a weekly article to engage and educate the public.

City of Palo Alto? Clean house, get rid of the dead wood, and start over. Why in the WORLD should volunteers shore up the shelter when most of the employees don't even give a damn and are waiting for a life raft? This has reached the point of ridiculous.

Posted by michele
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 21, 2012 at 7:03 am

Excellent post Bill Warrior. The field personnel at animal services are excellent, and the fat, bloated city both in the shelter and within City Hall can't see their way clear to address real needs. Sad and appalling.

Posted by Garden Gnome
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 21, 2012 at 10:39 am

Dear Michele,

All well and true, but you forgot the most important fact. The shelter exists solely as a way to provide union jobs. As you should know, our role as taxpayers is to ensure that these good folk have steady, well-paying jobs with excellent benefits (and pensions!)

If, in the course of carrying out their jobs they accidentally also provide a useful service, then that's a welcome accident.

Posted by jardins
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 21, 2012 at 11:47 am

@ Garden Gnome: You claim that "The shelter exists solely as a way to provide union jobs."

That is a ridiculous statement: each year the shelter spays or neuters several thousand cats and dogs, and it adopts out hundred of pets that need homes.

You need to base your statements on documented facts, not on personal bias

Posted by longtimer in PA
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 21, 2012 at 11:51 am

Please increase funding to the Palo Alto Animal Services, it's vital services are desperately needed by our community. Peninsula Humane Society and San Jose are the closest shelters, a long way when you have a frightened desperate animal in toe. Peninsula HS is in San Mateo County, how does that work for Santa Clara residents?
The logic of the HSSV being able to service Sunnyvale and now Mountain View escapes me, while HSSV facilities and their offerings are extraordinary, they have an issue of limited space. They do a fantastic job of adopting out, but the process can be slower than the need for places for homeless animals.
All the wrong messages are being sent to our children living in a city of wealth and prosperity. The message is loud and clear, our animals, with their services cut to the bone are unworthy of our concern and support. Please reconsider. Those of us who can please make a small donation to show that we care.

Posted by Scottie Zimmerman
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 21, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Hello "michelle," Being as ill informed as you are, I can understand why you use a phony name. I'd be embarrassed, too.

First, with regard to Mountain View. I read the 22-page report, written by their Chief of Police, Scott Vermeer, which describes their detailed comparison of PAAS to SVACA. As I told Chief Vermeer in an email, I thought the report was fair in describing differences in service between PAAS and SVACA -- with one error (on page 19) regarding SVACA's willingness to accept owner-surrendered animals. Mountain View is opting to go with SVACA because they believe they'll save money by outsourcing. Palo Alto, after reviewing its options with SVACA, voted NOT to outsource, fearing a significant decline in the quality of service (response times, number of services provided, etc) for Palo Alto's animals, pets and wildlife.

Second, Bonnie Yoffee does not "run the shelter." You are being absurd. Bonnie Yoffee is acknowledged to be one of the best vets in the state. It was after her arrival at PAAS that we began to provide medical attention to injured strays so they could heal, recover, and go up for adoption. Earlier policies had resulted in almost certain euthanasia if a cat or dog came in with a broken leg. Bonnie also improved protocols for the care of animals who are recovering from surgery. She works long hours, always with a quiet, friendly demeanor. Recently I was at the shelter on "vaccination day." People were waiting in line to get low-cost vaccinations for their pets. One young man out front had left his dog, a Siberian Husky, in his car. He was waiting for someone to come to the parking lot to administer a vaccination to his dog. I had my doubts, but sure enough, Bonnie and Leslie (a vet tech) came out, hustled to the car, and vaccinated the Husky. I spoke up, surprised, and Bonnie responded with a chuckle, "Oh yeah, we give curb service." It's just part of her job. Like ALL the employees at PAAS, Bonnie works hard, loves her work, collaborates with others to improve processes, is passionate about animal welfare, and never complains.

Diane Pearson was terrific at publicizing "Pet of the Week" and offering advice to pet owners. She stopped submitting articles to the PA Weekly because their editor at the time decided not to continue publicizing animals up for adoption. Currently Cody Macartney writes a Pet of the Week column for the Los Altos Town Crier, and he produces wonderful videos for posting on YouTube, showing various animals up for adoption at PAAS. Cody does this along with his regular duties as an Animal Control Officer. Self-motivated and self-taught, he figured out how to use his iPhone to produce videos, add titles and a sound track, and show off the goofy charms of our cats & dogs waiting for new homes.

Full Disclosure, "michelle": I am a long-time volunteer at PAAS. I'm one of the "citizens' group" that's fighting to save the shelter. I read city government reports, I read City Council agendas, and I attend City Council meetings. In other words, I make an effort to learn the facts. You should try it sometime.

Posted by Scottie Zimmerman
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 21, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Ahah! I followed your spelling and didn't remember that it's Bonnie Yoffe. Not Yoffee.

Bonnie Yoffe is the talented, dedicated vet at PAAS.

Posted by Scottie Zimmerman
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 21, 2012 at 5:00 pm

Last night some Friends of the Palo Alto Animal Shelter held a meeting at the shelter, after hours. The place was locked except for people authorized to have keys. (None in our group.) During the meeting, a side door opened, and ACO Cody Macartney walked through holding a light tan Chihuahua in his arms. We went on with our meeting.

At 7:30, as we opened the front door to leave, we found a tall man anxiously waiting just outside. He explained that his family dog had escaped from the yard and was missing. The dog? A tan Chihuahua. We called Cody to the front, he recognized that they were talking about the same pup, and he invited the man in to recover his little dog. An example of the happy endings that can occur at PAAS.

Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 21, 2012 at 6:47 pm

If the PAAS Friends Group can generate and sustain the funds that the city would otherwise save by outsourcing I would be in support of continuing this service. Fact is we have to examine and make tough decisions to have any chance of balancing the city budget and funding the critical needs that exist in public safety and infrastructure.

Again, these funds must be generated by friends groups annually. It cannot just be a one time effort when matters are in a crisis mode. It must be sustainable year after year. If not, then the city management team must seek other and more affordable options in providing our animal services.

I will also take this opportunity to ask this question yet again. I'm wondering if Palo Alto Online, or anyone else with credible knowledge, can tell us if the Palo Alto Children's Theater Friends Group were able to raise sufficient funds to offset the user fees that the city wished to impose in 2010-2011. City management opted not to raise their fees after the PACT Group pledged to raise the funds privately. So I will ask again, were they successful or not?

There is a huge difference between pledging to raise funds privately and actually doing it, especially if it was to be done in lieu of a fee hike or receiving fewer tax payer dollars. I'm all for attempting to meet these groups half way, but we must remain vigilant and hold them accountable for these promises. If they can't come up with the funds, then again, tough choices have to be made.

Posted by businessdecision
a resident of another community
on Jun 21, 2012 at 7:33 pm

These groups are trying, and that they try is inspiring to many people.

Of course Stanford is what makes Palo Alto what it is, but all these little groups have a pretty big role too in making this city seem just that much more outstanding, that much more special... And one result: higher property values. So perhaps it is not quite right for the taxpayers to be so anxious for volunteers to put in time and money when it is property owners who benefit financially from Palo Alto seeming to be such a nice place.

Posted by Scottie Zimmerman
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 22, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Fact is, a lot of people are making generous donations, both to PAAS and the Friends group. Money donated to the shelter STAYS with the shelter, 100%. The City cannot "borrow" from the donations account.

Gordon Biersch Restaurant on Emerson set up a fund raiser for PAAS and donated a generous portion of the proceeds accumulated between 5:30 and 7:30 this past Tuesday. GB contacted the Friends to propose the event! I was there the whole 2 hours; it was great fun, and I had a delicious meal. Waitresses were friendly and patient with the crowd of diners. GB sponsored a raffle as well, with winners (plural) being given festive baskets containing items for eating & drinking. Again, the raffle proceeds go to the shelter.

Thanks to all donors to PAAS, and a special thanks to Gordon Biersch for their generosity and hospitality all around.

Posted by Love Cats & Dogs
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 22, 2012 at 1:07 pm

SOMEONE MUST truly support the ANIMALS!
The critters can't do it alone.
I love cats, dogs etc. and they NEED OUR HELP.
FIGURE HOW TO DO IT, there are many knowledge-able folks!!
If you figure it out, I will VOLUNTEER there.

Posted by michele
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 26, 2012 at 8:08 am

Hi Scottie. My name IS Michele, with a single 'l.' I applaud your actions toward saving the shelter - I just don't think a citizen's group should have to. Surely you can understand that there needs to be a huge change in policy and staff for the shelter to be successful. Cody is spectacular - no doubt - too bad he's on the chopping block, as he has been the best thing to happen to the shelter in years.

I see we have differing opinions about policy/staff/citizens coming to the rescue. It's very kind of you to want to do that, but you (don't know where you live) and I are already paying the shelter salaries with our hard-earned dollars. I think it egregious that the shelter staff doesn't come up with ideas to present to the city about why they should remain open and in service. Always exceptions, as stated previously.

I'm afraid you are not entirely familiar with the politics at the shelter, but I applaud your efforts.

Posted by Denise S.
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 26, 2012 at 7:21 pm


Why do you constantly say things like "Fact is we have to examine and make tough decisions to have any chance of balancing the city budget and funding the critical needs that exist in public safety and infrastructure," and "...we must remain vigilang..." when you have no intention of offering anything other than criticism?

It is obvious you do not support a shelter, so be it. Why do you keep coming back? Just to irritate people? Why don't you take the opportunity to volunteer doing something YOU value, whatever that is, and stop all the negativity. You are smart - we get it. You have an opinion - again, acknowledged.

If there's a molecule of optimism in you, put it somewhere it can be useful. Geesh.

Posted by Denise
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 26, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Oops... I meant "...we must remain vigilant..."

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