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Palo Alto weighs tax increases for infrastructure fixes

Original post made on Aug 6, 2013

Faced with a laundry list of infrastructure needs and lukewarm support for a bond measure to pay for these repairs, Palo Alto officials are weighing a menu of possible tax increases that they hope voters will approve in 2014.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, August 6, 2013, 9:55 PM

Comments (57)

Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 6, 2013 at 10:45 pm

How about cutting back on the executive new hires - like the chief publicity officer, or the chief sustainability officer? That's $500,000/year.

and how about considering cost trade offs when when buying those Liquid Natural Gas Honda Civics instead of just regular gas powered Honda Civics? another $190,000.

and how about the California Ave lane reduction, which went from a projected cost of $1 million to $4 million - another $3 million there.

and how about all those studies for the compost factory, bike lanes, etc. etc. those cost $250,000 per study. - another couple of million there.

and how about the city let the developer pay for all the studies on 27 University, instead of funding the studies for the developer - another $500,000 there.

These items are just the tip of the iceberg.

Posted by Marrol
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 6, 2013 at 11:43 pm

As predicted, right on schedule. Our elected officials and city leaders have failed to set proper financial priorities for many years running. They have catered to the special interest groups, and pushed aside any sound fiscal plans that should have already paid for our essential infrastructure needs. They spend, and spend, and spend on fluff, feel good projects, and non-essential services. When the problem reaches a crisis level, they cry poor and come to the public trough asking for more money. I hope that as voters we can stand together and send them a resounding no for an answer.

The city needs to set some fiscal priorities, cut or reduce non-essential projects and services, outsources what we can, and eliminate non-essential positions. When that work is done, let's see how closer we are to paying our way with the expenditures saved. Until then, no additional taxes.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 7, 2013 at 12:03 am

Cities should never float bonds for routine maintenance, like sidewalk and street repair. That's like paying your monthly rent with a credit card. It should be covered by your budget already.

And if your budget can't cover your routine expenses, then forget the new infrastructure toys and buildings.

Posted by bru
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 7, 2013 at 1:36 am

bru is a registered user.

How about we kick out the council and hire some of those homeless who now need homes other than their cars ... I'm sure they would be at least as competent, cost less and probably do a better job. Maybe then some of those developers would be willing to let them come live at their houses so they could influence legislation and projects?

Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 7, 2013 at 6:27 am

As we now know, the city "loaned" PAHC $5 million to buy the land for the controversial Maybell/Clemo project. And they gave away a piece of city land and loaned money for the 801 Alma affordable housing project (worth at least another $5 million).

Don't forget there were the "loans" for houses for 2 city managers, still on the books, and the city paid to remodel one of the houses. And the city is helping to pay the property taxes.

But money for a fire station or the public safety building? the council figures they "punish" the citizens, while they fund their special interest groups they favor. And we all realize what a special interest group is the way PAHC has acted in the Maybell/Clemo controversy.

Posted by Please
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 7, 2013 at 7:30 am

If the city would stop spending like a drunken sailor, there would be money for this.

Posted by Wayne Martin
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 7, 2013 at 7:59 am

Good comments by all. Would like to point out that when the cost-to-employ someone (like a "sustainability officer, or a business development manager, or a public relations officer) gets to be over $200K a year, this comes to well over $2M over a ten-year period. It doesn't take many of these sorts of "executives" to rack up a bill of $20M-$30M (per decade). That kind of money buys a lot of infrastructure.

> As we now know, the city "loaned" PAHC $5 million to buy
> the land for the controversial Maybell/Clemo project.

Yes, but these funds are not exactly General Fund funds. Federal Block Grant money, and housing "in-lieu-of" funds have been the source of these loans in the past. I'm led to believe that the Council is now using Stanford "gift" money (Hospital Expansion gift) to pay for these sorts of loans. The Stanford Money should have been used for infrastructure (in my opinion)--which more-or-less makes it equivalent to "General Fund" dollars.

Posted by Josh
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 7, 2013 at 8:12 am

There was a study sometime back that said some of the Palo Alto Fire Stations were to close together. This could be an excellent time to close those that are too close. Sell the land and use the money to buy a parcel and build just one in a better location.

Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 7, 2013 at 9:38 am

I'm an advocate for pay as you go. Minimize long term debt. And I agree that routine maintenance and/or "repair & replacement" projects should be payed for out "normal" budget funds. The fact that the city does not set aside funds for these necessary expenditures shows that they willfully spend beyond their means already. Nothing new to those posting on this thread today.

I understand the need to raise long term funds for new projects such as a new Public Safety building. But I cannot support taxing (even a hotel tax) citizens for projects that clearly should be paid for out of our yearly city budget ad is.

I agree - dump the feel good projects and concentrate on what are our critical needs.

Posted by Mike
a resident of University South
on Aug 7, 2013 at 9:38 am

I know of one Palo Alto fire house that closed. There must be others.

Posted by Robbie
a resident of Ventura
on Aug 7, 2013 at 10:10 am

One person wants to cut "studies for the compost factory, bike lanes, etc. etc. those cost $250,000 per study"

Another says to "outsources what we can, and eliminate non-essential positions"

These are contradictory. The reason you need to pay for studies is because you don't have the in-house expertise and you need to outsource.

Posted by palo alto parent
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 7, 2013 at 10:20 am

Marrol the voice of common sense as usual! "The city needs to set some fiscal priorities, cut or reduce non-essential projects and services... and eliminate non-essential position" Absolutely!

The City should stop funding anything are not related to public safety or infrastructure until we are "caught up". Things that we value as a City, such as the Children's Theater, Junior Museum, Rec programs, etc. should move toward public/private funding, the City supplies the buildings and the users or private fundraising supplies the rest.

When the City Council appears to focus on things like a bike bridge over 101 that needs to be a "statement", we lose faith in their ability to focus on fiscal realities.

Posted by Hotels
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 7, 2013 at 10:31 am

Raising the hotel occupancy tax isn't a good way to go as that punishes business and will shift hotel demand to neighboring cities like Mountain View (currently at 10%, already lower). How about all the developers pay for infrastructure and if you need to raise taxes do it on the giant apartment complexes going in every where renting apartments at $3,000 per month for a 2 bedroom? Real affordable...

Posted by Born & Raised in PA, but barely surviving
a resident of Ventura
on Aug 7, 2013 at 11:18 am

Please not another bond - some of us are barely making ends meet. Of course, there are others that are very well off - but you have to have the support of the whole community. In fact, please start providing more discounts for our city services, for folks that make under $75,000.00 which are far and few in this city. Thank you.
PS - I wonder if our city council members ever read these responses.

Posted by Concerned Retiree
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 7, 2013 at 11:19 am

Bond measures to raise infrastructure funds are not popular? Perhaps it is the experience Palo Altans have had with the ongoing, extraordinary expenses incurred by the library group's projects. We have seen cost over runs and extreme schedule delays.

It would have been cheaper to just get every resident an account at Amazon.

As for new fire stations, we should privatize the current fire and EMT services. We would save a great deal of money.

Posted by Taxpayer
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 7, 2013 at 11:35 am

I would not support any increase to taxes or a bond measure for fire stations. Palo Alto rarely has fires, motly medical emergencies and cats stuck in trees. I would prefer to see at least two fire stations closed (keep the land and rent it out), and focus the safety services on where the need is (ambulance drivers). Reduce the # of big red trucks driving around town (save on calital expenditures and maintenance) and focus on ambulances and more efficient ways of delivering services. Switch the union employees to 401k's. Just dojng the above mentioned steps (there are plenty of other areas of savings, including excessive compensation) will balance the budget.

Posted by Jo Ann
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 7, 2013 at 11:39 am

After the horrible supervision of the library project and the ludicrous street planning re Mikki's Market, no more bond approvals from me. EVER.

How about making the developers pay for the garage since they're the ones increasing density?

How about making the developers pay for the other transportation/infrastructure repairs?

How about CUTTING the fluff out of the Utility Department? We don't need conservation contests!

Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Aug 7, 2013 at 11:50 am

It is time to consolidate many of the functions provided by each city in the region. For example PA could provide all (or most)services for communities like Los Altos Hills and Portola Valley. Fewer facilities and less management would save all of the communities money and leave more for infrastructure.

Posted by Marty
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 7, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Palo Alto City Hall staff squanders our tax money due to their incompetence.
Here is just one small example: My street is scheduled to be torn up and repaved in October. But what does the city do? The city has spent the last two days repairing pot holes on our block with blacktop. Lots of construction workers were just standing around for much of the two days. The city deployed big trucks, which were mostly idle, too. Who is in charge of street repairs and coordination? Palo Alto City Hall needs to be swept out.

Posted by paco
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 7, 2013 at 1:11 pm

The fact that a Mayor of an incorporated city would state that taxing business' is a "slam dunk" really shows how out of touch, uneducated, and dysfunctional the current city council is. How unfortunate for city residents that we are have an equally inept city manager, appointed by city council, who chooses to use residents limited tax money to create dozens of new senior management positions to cover for his lack of leadership instead of needed infrastructure repairs. Asking for a 3% salary increase for management employees and new taxes for infrastructure in the same breath seems a somewhat bizzare request. Thanks again to city council members and city manager for spending this years "surplus" funds on multiple "blue ribbon" studies and raises for management employees. What a pity!

Posted by No no no
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 7, 2013 at 1:28 pm

No way! Voters , exercise your rights! Vote no to uncontrollable pensions, vote no to irresponsible hiring, vote no to greed!

Posted by Anne R. Keye
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 7, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Even if we were to get rid of our inept city council members, who would we get to replace them? Probably some more equally incompetent fools. Our local government is simply a smaller version of our leaders on the state and national levels. Worthless, wasteful and quite often corrupt.

Posted by Git R Dun
a resident of Mayfield
on Aug 7, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Just bet the job done with as little tax increase as was the city that let everything go to pot in the first place

Posted by jerry99
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 7, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Just live within our means. No more "affordable housing", it just brings more crime to the city- look at the pensions and benefits that other cities in the US gives its employees. Detroit will wind up cutting its existing city workers ~35%, a small town in New England declared bankruptcy and cut its retired employees pensions 50%.
Decrease pensions and health care benefits for current and future employees, these cost amount to ~50% of the value of their salayies.. Don't expand and hire staff for the planning Dept. so they can approve useless new buildings and apartments that are not what Palo Alto citizens want.
In 25 years my utility bills have more tripled to pay for the "good life" of PA employees. NO BONDS, NO MORE TAXES, NO MORE DOUBLE DIGIT INCREASES IN UTILITIES.

Posted by Marcie
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 7, 2013 at 2:00 pm

The council frequently mentions the unsafe building being used by the police department, but nothing about the employees on the upper levels of City Hall. Do we need those people or will a new City Hall be the next new building on the infrastructure wish list?

The city staff, including all the boards, appear to be concerned with the well fair of the developers instead of the residents. I was surprised when wider sidewalks were brought up that some thought the upper levels of the huge buildings could just overhang the sidewalks. This would be to help maximize the developer's profits. What kind of convoluted logic is that?

Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 7, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Please vote. Please do not approve more taxes. They can get this stuff through if enough people are 1)busy or 2)uninvolved with the issues and not knowledgeable about city expenditures and operations.
And I suppose there will be a public relations campaign at taxpayer expense to promote this nonsense.
The City of Palo Alto has sufficient money to operate handsomely and does not need any more from us taxpayers.
I was never surveyed (I read there was a survey - perhaps by phone? - of local residents concerning satisfaction with the city. There was supposed to be a high satisfaction level. If I HAD been surveyed, I would have stated that the City Council and city management need to operate within their current budget. I am very dissatisfied on that account, but then I already knew I pretty much disagree with any things proposed and approved by this city council. Some pretty good examples of poor choices/management with taxpayer money have been posted on this thread already.

Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 7, 2013 at 2:38 pm

The Council absolutely, positively MUST get rid of the current city manager, get rid of the recently created 'fluff positions- most at $150K a year, tell Benest to get his own house and the City sell the one he is in (maybe the current city manager will demand the same deal) , put a limit on outsourced consulting, outsourced studies....and the list goes on. The residents are waking up, and civic blood pressure is rising- because of what city management and council are doing. This city is not being efficiently and well run. Off with their heads!!! This council is another disaster. Revise the ARB and Planning Commission.Both have had bad records. AND Palo Alto should not take its 'marching orders' from Stanford.

Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 7, 2013 at 5:32 pm

I'm unclear on the concept of putting away savings for future expenses while going into debt for current expenses. It only makes sense if the return on the savings is greater than the cost of the debt. Like installing lights over your solar panel so you could generate electricity at night. Somebody is going to default. I suppose that's okay as long as it happens in the future when I'm not around.

Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 7, 2013 at 5:38 pm

They are joking, aren't they? A new bond or new taxes. This after the library bond fiasco and the constant wasting of money on vanity projects-- I.e. the bike bridge over 101 that will be a symbol of palo alto!!!

Anne-- you are correct. A new group -- a part of the self perpetuating council members will just step n. check out their campaign material. They are all full of former council members endorsing current members. Kniss recent ads had picture after picture of her with former members. Then they come back-- like kniss and Klein. And then they won't leave-- like Klein.
Of course, this is all aided and approved by the weekly, who only endorses people from the palo alto ruling elite.
I will surely vote no

Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 7, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Is it coincidence that a higher hotel tax is proposed right after making it unlawful to sleep in your car?

Posted by Not an issue
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 7, 2013 at 5:50 pm

I believe someone pointed out that mountain view had only a 10% tax rate for hotels, so why not stay there? Looks like palo,alto,is taking another step to discourage people from being in palo alto-- they already made sure that you cannot do everyday shopping I the city.

Posted by Parent
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 7, 2013 at 5:52 pm

No, No, No, No, NO!!!!. This city council really doesn't get it! We're sick of it! We have these massive boondoggle unfinished and yet to be litigated libraries staring us in the face, (the ultimate in frivolous luxury spending for the times)... And we have these monster UGLY dense developments all over town, forcing in overcrowding to our infrastructure and our schools (the fixing of which is a whole other butt load of money we're required to fork over)...

They seem to have plenty of cash lying around for a totally unnecessary, annoying and traffic nightmare inducing stoplight in front of Alma Plaza, and how many millions did we pay for the privilege of having them totally screw up the traffic on Arastradero and Maybell?

And they all but forced a 600K ballot initiative, PLUS lawsuit, on the ballot by failing to recognize the priorities of the neighborhood citizens they are here to represent.

So, NO absolutely not! They have no clue how spend and prioritize the money they DO have. The less money they have to waste, the better!

Until they show me a moratorium on new development, closure to ALL the projects they already have open, a comprehensive traffic plan that incorporate CURRENT development, and mitigates the messes they've created up to this point, provides a strong comprehensive plan that puts Palo Alto quality of life first, and closes loopholes for dense development that ignores the zoning laws, AND , they finally stand up to ABAG and say "WE'RE DONE! Move along now." When that's done, come and see me about more money. Until then do what the rest of us do, and figure out how to live with the paycheck you're already getting.

Posted by Parent
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 7, 2013 at 6:00 pm

Oh, and nature, and natural born crooks, abhor a vacuum. You eliminate this board, you'll just have another set, probably even worse, placed there by the big business of developers and unions, to take their place.

The real solution is a few new laws to strengthen the power of the comprehensive plan, to take away the power from city council to approve zoning variances from the comprehensive plan (and put that in the hands of voters), and some requirements that new developments are required to provide for adequate parking, street improvements, incremental infrastructure improvements, and incremental school impacts, created by that development. And a law that says 'dense development is not a 'benefit' and does not count as a 'benefit' when developers are required to mitigate with community benefits...

Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 7, 2013 at 6:14 pm

Hardly a new idea, but reducing the number of city council members and reducing the number of meetings would perhaps slow down the excess time/votes spent on frivolous, non-essential-city-business matters, and also perhaps reduce the endless schemes to spend our hard-earned taxpayer money. I have lived elsewhere and have been more impressed with the city councils in the two other most recent cities of residence (both in Silicon Valley, incidentally).

Posted by Jill
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 7, 2013 at 6:53 pm

Can we have a referendum on our incompetent, corrupt city council?
They need to be recalled. The overdevelopment in Palo Alto is shocking. Please, no more career politicians (Kniss and Klein) who are on their knees for developers.

Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 7, 2013 at 6:57 pm

We need structural change of governmental powers. One idea is to
outsource design review to a recognized design professional/firm
hired by a citizen committee. All projects, including all actions by the City, would need to conform to compatibility, scale, aesthetic standards or they are not approved. This would introduce a level of
professionalism and competency and resident control to the process and break the link and cozy relationship between the Council,staff and developer community. Until our City government is completely reformed the idea of feeding it more money is ludicrous. The City has been getting a free ride for at least ten years- and look at the cesspool we find ourselves in.

Posted by Ben
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 7, 2013 at 8:56 pm

If it comes to a vote, I vote NO!

There are millions of dollars squandered in city hall on an ever growing management team, look no further than the city manager to find a bloated staff.

Besides, the city utility dept already imposes a 'tax' on citizens in the form of higher than necessary rates. The result is, every 10 years or so, the utility dept miraculously finds a few tens of millions of dollars that they can't spend! surprise, surprise.

No on any new taxes until the city cleans up the waste they generate.

Posted by Bob
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 7, 2013 at 9:18 pm

Wise and astute residents have long suggested that Palo Alto get rid of the city manager form of government and go for an elected mayor-manager of the with power, courage,
intelligence, and business savvy. (Didn't Gary Fazzino favor this?) The buck then stops at the mayor's door. Surely, there is such a candidate in Palo Alto who would be responsible to the voters and residents. (There are many residents who cannot vote.) City manager Jim Keene came from Tuscon then Berkeley. Go figure. We've got a real problem with this city council, and potential replacements should be getting their civic act together - now. There was a recall once - it can be done.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 7, 2013 at 9:51 pm

Palo Alto should adopt district election of the City Council. As it's currently constituted, the City Council really represents the developers who fund their campaigns. Maybe if the Council represented districts, the outcome of their votes wouldn't be so predictable.

Posted by Enough
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 8, 2013 at 6:56 am

We're moving to Mountain View.

Posted by No bond, cut the fat
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 8, 2013 at 11:34 am

So agree with commonsense and others here. No more bonds. Cut the fat and waste that is endemic here. Live within our considerable means. The city council and city govt. are completely out of control. Let us take back our city by repealing some of these members and putting in place proper administration of city govt. They work for us, not the other way around.

Posted by resident has the right idea
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 8, 2013 at 11:49 am

This administration by the City Manager has NOT been working for the citizens of our city for several decades that I have been here. We need a structural change...maybe an elected official as manager. Palo Alto city administration is the laughing stock of city governments - fat and bloated. Look at our utility rates - ongoing theft from citizens - a city govt. slush fund. All these California Ave studies, bungled Library projects, more consultants and pr people and much more useless spending off the backs of citizens. How many can afford to continue living here? I constantly see people who bought homes in recent years having to sell them. The bonds add to the misery. Our kids will NEVER be able to live here. All this stress makes for a very cold hearted community - everyone for themselves just surviving and feeling inadequate somehow. The people who have to sell or move, do so quietly. We never hear their anguish, their grief.

Posted by Parking Meters?
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 8, 2013 at 11:56 am

How about we install parking meters on downtown streets and in the City owned parking garages to fund the infrastructure fixes? Is this being looked at?

Posted by AR
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 8, 2013 at 12:08 pm

I agree with all who advocate NO on this kick-the-can approach to fiscal management.

City of Sacramento: pop 472,178 (2011). Check out the org chart ( There are 17 positions in addition to the mayor and city council. The city manager has 4 Directors: Finance, General Services, HR, and IT. Even if the org chart doesn't tell the whole story it causes me to question why our city staff needs to be as top heavy as it is when our population is 64,403 (2010) - about 7 times SMALLER than Sacramento.

Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 8, 2013 at 12:34 pm

@ resident has it right: I would say that one thing the city is doing better than most is on Utilities. We pay far less than neighboring cities who have PG&E. in fact my Mother's water bill (Menlo Park) was almost as much as our full PAU bill which covers not only utilities but also sanitation too.

Now as for the Utilities tax/fee, now you're onto something.....

Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside
on Aug 8, 2013 at 1:10 pm

How about not one red cent in new taxes until city employees receive fair market-set compensation?

With the incredible, unaffordable pay and benefit packages they receive now due to self-dealing and corruption, it is no wonder the city is always looking for more money to loot from productive citizens.

Posted by Downtown North Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 8, 2013 at 7:50 pm

How about using this new library building as the new Police Headquarters? At least it would be a legitimate use for a new structure... building a Library in the age and iPads? Why not a pyramid?

Posted by hmm
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 9, 2013 at 7:53 am

Sorry Folks. It's ransomh that we must pay regardless...

Posted by 50 plus years in PA
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 9, 2013 at 12:54 pm

If the city can throw 634000 for a special election for a rigged project they do not need the bond money. Giving the bond money means they can throw more away.

Posted by alex
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 9, 2013 at 2:12 pm

If the proposed real estate transfer tax were a progressive tax, there would probably be much more support for it.

For example, those who sell a 3 million dollar house should pay a higher percentage than those who sell a 1.5 million dollar one. This is fair and would get far more support than a flat tax.

Posted by member
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 9, 2013 at 5:14 pm

The article for the bond measure was next to the article for sister cities. In previous weeks was as lengthy article about the construction problems on the Mitchell Park Community Center. Previous experience with bond measures is that they do not get used for the project voted on. And if voted on do not include enough money to finish the project. Meanwhile the "regional growth plan" keeps exerting undo influence.
There needs to be a central list of priorities, total funding available for those priorities, publish same so that individual council members work as a team versus pushing their own agenda.

Posted by S. Coen
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 12, 2013 at 7:44 am

Hello! First take a look at Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara and you will see far better and more intelligent city council members who know how to operate a city and it's infrastructure. [Portion removed.] Sure go ahead and close a few fire stations and then see how the response will take longer to get to your house for yes, a fire or a medical call. Then lets stop funding all non city projects that are for the homeless( it's time that these useless human beings get off their butts and get jobs) but as long as the city funds to help these people then they will forever be sucking on the tit. Next get a city council that understands that we live in a very expensive community and NOTHING is more important then providing the best police and fire protection services as well as utilities and the best in the planning dept. We must take care of these area's as well as our streets and sewers and all other area's of the city infrastructure. Then after we have the necessary money in the operational budgets can we help the cry babies who want art in the downtown area or keeping all of the libraries open. Our city has lots of money already and we need to make sure that the clowns in the council are not disrespectful of our employees and that they use common sense. Look at our neighboring cities. They do not have these problems and it all works. These other cities have exactly the same issues but they seem to be doing it very well. Come on folks. Our council is at the bottom compared to our neighbors.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2013 at 8:11 am

I already pay taxes for infrastructure.

How about putting non infrastructure feel good projects up for a vote, then we can see exactly what Palo Altans feel about them.

Posted by Stan
a resident of another community
on Aug 12, 2013 at 9:59 am

To S. Coen,

City of Santa Clara will brown out (close a fire station) for a day to cut back on overtime pay. More cities are starting to do this practice. Maybe Palo Alto should look into this.

Posted by AntonChigurh
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 12, 2013 at 3:46 pm

We're DOOMED. DOOMED, I tell you.

Posted by S. Coen
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 13, 2013 at 1:59 pm

To Stan,
The City Council in Palo Alto has already authorized the browning out of fire stations starting with station number 2 on Hanover. They have also started to have the Paramedic fire department ambulance that is stationed at station 2 which used to have 2 firefighter paramedics assigned to it on a 24 hour basis have been reassigned to other stations and now the fire engine crew of 3 which also always has a paramedic on it will now also cross-staff both the fire engine and ambulance. So if a call comes in and it is a medical call the three will take the ambulance and the fire engine will stay back in the fire station. So then if a fire call comes in the fire engine will now be out of service. If it is a fire call then the ambulance will be left behind.
It was a better way before with both the fire engine and ambulance both staffed with the required manning. The city will save money on the overtime but will you be happy if the fire call or heart attack call at your home is a delayed response above the approx. time of 3-4 minutes that will now become 5-7 minutes as your house is burning or someone in your home is having a major medical episode that will probably cause serious damage to your home or someone's life?
One of the reasons we have minimal fire damage is because of the quick responses from our fire stations that are located within a average response time of 3 to 4 minutes and that is also why our fire department is also so successful in saving people on medical aid calls.
I am very happy with our current system and see that any reductions will lead to a sad day for someone. It is too bad that we have a city council who has so much distain and hatred for both of our police officers and firefighters that they would not listen to the professionals, firefighters and police who are very smart and well educated to know first hand what is needed to protect us but instead the council wants to not listen to those that do this work and instead listen to those who know nothing. Mountain View, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara City all have problems but they all communicate well with their employees and support them versus alienating them. It works their so why not in our city. We should be the leader in our community understanding our firefighters and police and listening to what they need and I bet they would be more in support of what our council needs. Talk to them. I have. Ask questions.
Drop by the police station or a fire station and ask. They are willing to answer questions.

Posted by Jake
a resident of another community
on Aug 14, 2013 at 10:12 am

I love that PC term. It's a soft serve for CLOSED! plain and simple. Has anyone ever ever seen a store, office, business, Dr office, etc with a sign in the window that reads "browned out today"?? Probably not because at least they are honest and are telling you there is nobody there, no service is available that day and whatever you might need or want us not available that day, period. So go somewhere else or tough luck.
Brown out is defined as a temporary interruption or reduction in electrical service, it shouldn't be used to describe the CLOSURE of a fire station.
I find it strange the City of Palo Alto can keep inventing and hiring new manager positions this year but they can't keep services in place that are only increasing in demand? The City Manager is nothing more than a Kool aid salesman. Drink up PA

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