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Seven contend for East Palo Alto council seats

Original post made on Oct 5, 2018

On Nov. 6, the East Palo Alto's voters will be tasked with choosing two City Council candidates who will make decisions that will shape the city for years to come.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, October 5, 2018, 6:54 AM

Comments (22)

Posted by Aquamarine
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 5, 2018 at 1:55 pm

Thank you for these candidate profiles for East PalomAlto. I have some questions about some of the candidates.

Will any reporters investigate stories about how disruptive and difficult Patricia Lopez is at city meetings? [Portion removed: unconfirmed allegation.]

Candidates who are opposed to banning oversized vehicles or enforcement of the 72 hour parking rule, what do they plant to propose the city do to deal with the coming public health and ecological issues associated with having a de facto homeless and RV encampment? Not all of those RVs will qualify for the upcoming city program, so what's your plan for the rest of them?

Did Regina Wallace Jones really ask Donna Rutherford to drop out of the council race/not run again? If so, why?

Why did Wallace Jones include her candidate literature in all the hygiene kits she donated to Ecumenical Hunger?

Wallace Jones is a landlord. How many houses does she own and how many are in EPA?

How well do these candidates know the west side residents and the issues on the west side?

Which candidates are self-funded and which have received donations from commercial stakeholders in the city such as landlords? (This info is available on the city website but many voters don't know that.)


Posted by #forwardtogether
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 7, 2018 at 11:33 am

Thanks for the inquiries!

Staying focused on the issues:

1) Indeed I am a landlord. All of my property is outside of the state of California with the exception of my primary residence and a timeshare. Generally, it is important to be interested in this. Unfortunately, I don’t think you’ll find any conflicts of interest. I own my home in East Palo Alto. That’s all. Nothing more.

2) My 460 filing is transparent and comprehensive. Again, it’s generally interesting to be cuirious about how campaigns are funded. In my case, my funding has come from family, high school friends, college friends, sorority sisters, church family, co-workers and community members. What it should say to you is that I have a lifelong reputation of credibility. What they ask in exchange is that I continue to make them proud. I hope I do just that if elected.

3) Please have Donna Rutherford call me if she is truly concerned about this issue that is clearly bothering you.

#forwardtogether #allofus


Posted by revdreileen
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 7, 2018 at 8:24 pm

revdreileen is a registered user.

Thank you for providing this information about the EPA Council race. Since I moved to EPA almost six years ago, I have had difficulty finding detailed information about our local races to help inform my voting. I encourage this publication to keep up with reporting on EPA. Thank you, Sue Dremann!


Posted by Concern Too
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 7, 2018 at 8:47 pm

Regina, is a great speaker, but if she wins she will not be as good as our incumbents. They have done a lot of progress with the little money we have. Too many to mention. One thing I like about Ruben Abrica is that from all the city councils, only him attended the School District when the super took us into financial crisis, when she spend the 8 million dollars plus. No one else bother to help the students and the employees. Regina claims that she is helping the people who got laid off, but that was the present city council members who came up with the Job Training not her. [Portion removed.] I would like to know who is finding her. She is spending money like crazy, have you seen how the city has been flooded with her signs. Same things go for the district candidates Pulido, Lopez and Knight. They are trashing our city. So many of Pulido's fliers on the ground, and on our cars. When I had to drive yesterday, I took off, and then noticed that her flier was in my car. I had to stop to take it off because it was not allowing me to see well. Luckily I did not have an accident. Who does she think she is to come to our cars and pull the wipers up to stick her fliers? In so many years living in East Palo Alto, I never seen so many fliers on the ground. They should come and pick them up. I am wondering who is giving the $ to pay for them. I hope Gloria is not paying for it from our kids money. At this point, I would not be surprised. We do not have many wealthy parents who can afford to pay for those gigantic yards signs,mailers, door hangers, etc, for the three candidates. Something fishy here. Gloria is probably very worried about loosing her puppets, I mean the incumbents because that means she will be out too.
[Portion removed; original allegation has been removed.]
We need answers from this candidate.


Posted by Dixie
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 8, 2018 at 7:32 am

Aquamarine & Concern Too-
Your joint agendas seem to be to single out City Council Candidate, Regina Wallace Jones with multiple inaccuracies. Regina is a stand out as the most qualified candidate that EPA has. She has the education, drive & intelligence to take EPA forward. She is successful at connecting & will be a tremendous asset in building regional approaches with surrounding cities, including the building of affordable housing, job creation & recognition that EPA is a city to be reckoned with & not ignored.
1. If, I say IF Regina spoke to Donna about not running, she was not the only person to do so. Multiple individuals also spoke to Mr. Reuben Abrica about not running again. Long tenures of City Council members are often not to the benefit of any city, or for that matter any organization or business. To thrive & stay relevant you often need fresh faces, approaches, ideas, concepts to meet the critical needs of an organization.
2. To lump Regina in with the three Ravenswood School Board incumbents, is sheer ignorance or planned sabatoge. I am in complete agreement that again three new RSDB members are needed to be elected this November. The present RSDB has created a financial disaster (they are working to get out of), retained a superintendent that had a no confidence vote from the majority of teachers, & exhibits a management style of retribution & instilling fear. This has nothing to do with Regina, in fact as I have gotten to know her is the exact opposite of what she stands for.
I would ask that you directly reach out to Regina Wallace Jones on this or any questions you have about her abilities & what she stands for. I would also ask that Aquamarine & Concern Too stop hiding & you their real first names, so all may know their true objectives.
Thank you.


Posted by bemused
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 8, 2018 at 9:39 am

I would like a little more context regarding Regina Wallace-Jones' investments in local tech companies. Specifically, would she likely need to recuse herself from any city council decisions because of these investments? In particular, I'm wondering about any ongoing or developing decisions regarding Facebook's impact on EPA, including their new campus in East Menlo Park, which will have impacts on EPA traffic, and The Primary School. (I understand that The Primary School is Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, not Facebook.) I think this question will come up at some point, so I think the sooner it's clarified the better. Thank you!


Posted by Mark Dinan
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 8, 2018 at 10:12 am

Mark Dinan is a registered user.

I'm Regina's neighbor, and have known her since 2014. She and her husband still have the first condo they bought in the 90s, and have rented it out. She also has a family home in another state. The idea that she is a landlord in EPA is just wrong.

Like all other people in Tech, Regina has stock options and grants from the companies she has previously worked at. I have no insights into her stock portfolio, but am happy that someone who is financially secure is running for office. We should be extremely happy that someone of her success, intelligence, accomplishments, demeanor, & education is willing to serve on City Council!


Posted by bemused
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 8, 2018 at 11:30 am

Mark, I appreciate your perspective. You can learn about candidate's investments on their Statement of Economic Interests (FPPC Form 700) which is available on EPA's election page here: Web Link Regina is the only candidate who's reported investments on this form. Perhaps she is the first in EPA history to have this type of investment. Therefore, I think clear information on how this might affect her participation on the council would be helpful to voters, if only so we're aware of it ahead of time instead of having it pop up suddenly once she is on the council (assuming she is elected.) I hope someone with knowledge on this issue can chime in with some clarification. I think it's an important question.


Posted by Deborah Lewis-Virges
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 8, 2018 at 5:24 pm

Wow! I am surprised to hear how much attention and inquiry is being directed to a candidates personal financial accomplishments. All candidates are required to file a "Public Statement of Disclosure of their Finances." I for one have viewed Candidate Wallace's Statement as well as all of the others who actually provided details on their respective reports. Who better to have a voice in financial matters than one with first hand experience on a personal basis and on a professional level. To imply that a landlord whether local or otherwise is reason to suspect a candidates commitment while suggesting that it would be a conflict of interest is ludicrous. Part of the problem with many serving on our Council, Boards or Committees is the fact that they clearly lack a significant understanding of investing, finances, tech and hence are unable to unpack some of the significant financial matters involved in negotiations and investments. We need to raise the bar for what we expect and accept from candidates. I attended the EPA Neighbors & Saint Mark Candidate's forum with no pre-determined mindset on which candidates I would support as I wanted to remain open to listen and learn. I can now say, in no uncertain terms, that I left the forum assured that I would lend my support to those candidates that I truly felt could best lead our city in the future. Regina Wallace-Jones is one of the Candidates that I will cast my vote for based on her pro-active visions for the city and for the confidence that she exuded in being able to be a credible source for carrying out those visions.


Posted by #forwardtogether
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 8, 2018 at 5:49 pm

@bemused

Thank you so much for the thoughtful question. As luck would have it, my husband and I are both engineers, so our portfolio represents the composite of companies that we have worked for and a few small speculations, all which I published.

Keeping to my theme of transparency, I was keen on disclosing everything because I have no hidden agenda or intention of hiding and want to make sure that I recuse myself if there ever is a conflict of interest.

Candidates with hidden agendas generally don’t report everything that I have reported. Please know that I have reported BECAUSE I want to make sure that the public is aware of why I am choosing not to weigh in on a matter that may be entangled with my personal interests if elected.

Generally speaking, I want you to know that this filing is done to help you and I together make sure that I am honest.

Thanks so much!
#forwardtogether


Posted by bemused
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 8, 2018 at 6:43 pm

@Deborah Lewis-Virges, perhaps your comment is not directed at me, I'm not sure. If it is, I believe it's important to consider how investments might affect a candidate's future participation on city council. I agree that experience in the tech industry and financial expertise are valuable assets for a city council member. However, if that member will not be able to vote on significant decisions due to a potential, or even perceived, conflict of interest, the expertise will not be able to come into play. Similar with real estate. If as a landlord, a council member is not able to vote on rent stabilization decisions, then how is the council member's expertise or commitments in that area able to help EPA?

I am hoping someone will clarify what the rules are, and whether Regina would be required to recuse herself. I've tried to research what I can online. It looks like it is up to candidates to recuse themselves if a decision could potentially affect their financial interest?

@#forwardtogether (aka Regina, I'll assume): Thank you for your transparency. I cannot overstate how important that is! I have noted that you have also documented all your contributions, not just those under $100. Thank you for that! Have you considered or looked into what types of decisions you might need to recuse yourself from if elected to city council? I am trying to get a sense of how likely and to what to degree this would come into play. One obvious concern is decisions involving Facebook. If there are further negotiations with them regarding impacts of their MP campus on EPA, would you be able to vote in those types of decisions, or even be involved in negotiations? Perhaps this is of relative insignificance compared to the greater work being done by the council? I do not have a good feel for this, which is why I'm asking the question. I have observed that these decisions can be very contentious, judging by opinions about the deal negotiated with Amazon, for example. It is safe to say that you do not believe your financial interests will limit your ability to participate in the most important decisions likely to be faced by EPA over the next four years?


Posted by #forwardtogether
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 8, 2018 at 7:31 pm

@bemused

Again, thanks for the question!

At the moment, Facebook is not operating in East Palo Alto. If that comes up for consideration, we would naturally need to evaluate my holdings (since these are not static) and determine my personal interest at that time. The most important thing to me is that I do the right thing by the people of East Palo Alto. If I were interested in making money or personal gain, City Council would not be the way that I would exercise that interest. I would instead focus all of my energy on my professional success and personal investments: My life is a testimony in many ways. I choose to direct that testimony toward investing in this community through service. I hope that this is clear from my approach. I am very happy to meet you and discuss more. Again thanks for your inquiry and your consideration of my candidacy!

#forwardtogether


Posted by S. Dill
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 8, 2018 at 11:49 pm

Let's examine at Wallace-Jones' actions. She has invested a tremendous amount of time focused on organizations that are geared toward community improvement and forging new bonds - Street Code, local leader for a US Presidential Campaign, EPA Technical Advisory Committee, to name a few. All while excelling professionally and being a dedicated wife and mother. She operates with transparency, integrity and sincerity. All the hallmarks, and dare I say, desired qualities of an elected official. I've known her for over 20 years and can attest this is simply who she is. She is highly accessible and approachable as evidenced by her actions in this forum. Our community faces some serious challenges and many more on the horizon. Let's focus our time and energy querying all candidates on their positions on the issues at hand, rather than inferring negative intent. Subjecting yourself to scrutiny in the public square, is no less than a courageous feat. I'm exceedingly appreciative that our community is blessed with a number of candidates who truly care about EPA's direction and people. As an EPA resident since 2003 with deep family ties to this community that stretch for many decades prior, I am proud to support Wallace-Jones' candidacy. I eagerly look forward to her continuing to share her talents with EPA as member of the city council.


Posted by No Thanks.
a resident of Menlo Park
on Oct 9, 2018 at 6:20 am

She has ties to Sharifa Wilson, and that is good enough for me and some people to know that she is not our favorite candidate. She might have been asked to vote by Willson. The same thing goes for Tamara. She sounds really great, but I have seen pictures of her celebrating their campaign with Sharifa Wilson. We have the right to vote for someone we believe in.


Posted by #forwardtogether
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 9, 2018 at 7:03 am

@No Thanks

In 2.2 square miles, I would hope that most people know most people. Sharifa is a past mayor of East Palo Alto and I have tried my best to meet past Mayors and Councilmbers because they all have a story to tell. You might also notice that Peter Evans is with me in my kickoff. Stylistically, we are very different, but I appreciate the insight that he brings from his time on City Council.

In some ways, I am glad to know that you are following my campaign so closely in social media! Hooray! For others, I invite you to follow me in Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you have seen my picture of my kickoff, you know that my group started there and grew substantially over time. I know many more people now than I knew then and am grateful for this process because it has helped me build many new relationships.

I believe great leaders can work across multiple leaders, people and personality types to get things done. The art of disagreeing without being disagreeable is a skill we all benefit from having in a small city like East Palo Alto, otherwise we get mired in small town politics and lose sight of what we need to accomplish.

For example, I support Tamara Sobomehin and other new faces for Ravenswood School District and I believe that Sharifa is supporting one or many incumbents. I am sure she has her reasons and I have mine. The good news is that rather than being cowards, we have met and understand each other’s difference. This is noble, noteworthy and the right way to understand difference. The idea is that we don’t always have to agree but that we take the reasonable time to understand.

I would hope that you’d be mature enough to evaluate me on my own merits and not on affiliations. But if not, I learn something from that as well.

Best of luck to you in finding the candidate that you believe in.


Posted by bemused
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 9, 2018 at 10:25 am

I am not sure if my comments are being misunderstood, or if people are replying to others. My question is specifically about how likely recusal will come into play over the next four years, not because a council member is trying to profit but because they coincidentally are invested in a company that would benefit from a specific decision. The issue of recusal has been in the news a fair amount in neighboring cities.

I am not suggesting anyone is trying to profit financially by being on the city council!

I hope that clears up an misunderstandings, if there were any, about my comments. I have not decided yet who to support. I think Regina is an excellent candidate, and I'm thankful she decided to run for council.


Posted by #forwardtogether
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 9, 2018 at 3:07 pm

@bemused

Got it! I understand your question. At least, I think I do.

My response is, we don’t know what we don’t know. It’s really hard to tell how often refusal will come up. But the form is published to remind us of when recusal is might be necessary. There is also mandatory ethics training.

At some level, I feel fortunate to have a public reputation that I am proud of. This is something that I will work very hard to protect along with the good people of this city. I’ve seen recusals happen before inside and outside of East Palo Alto. I think of them as a good thing (I.e. if you have a substantial personal interest, you don’t weigh in).

At the same time, I am proud that I’ve made good on my parents’ investment in me. They gave me everything that they had. And their daughter has done well.

It seems like you might attach something negative to recusal. It’s there for our protection and honest candidates disclose as much as they possibly can to keep the ecosystem safe.


Posted by bemused
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 9, 2018 at 4:10 pm

@#forwardtogether/Regina,

Thanks for bearing with me.

Yes, I think there is a negative side to recusal, namely that the council member loses a say/vote on whatever issue is at hand!

To try to express this in a more generic way: let's say issue A comes up for vote. The council member believes a vote in favor is the best course for their constituency. However, if a company they're invested in would also coincidentally benefit from a vote in favor, would the council member be required to recuse themselves? If so, even though the council member has best interests of city at heart, they are not able to act on that due to a coincidental investment in the company that also benefits. Measure A might end up without required votes to pass.

In an ideal world (which of course doesn't exist), I'd prefer a candidate who did not have any potential conflicts of interest, simply so that they would be able to participate fully on all issues throughout their term. Hence, my general question about the likelihood of whether you'd have to recuse yourself from any significant matter over the next four years. I think you probably have a better idea of this than I do. If I'm reading your responses correctly, you're answer is "no", and I'm satisfied with that. Thank you!


Posted by #forwardtogether
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Oct 9, 2018 at 6:33 pm

@bemused

I got it.

Well, here are my thoughts.

1) it takes 3 council members to transact business on behalf of the city. In the narrow chance that I would have to recuse myself because of real or perceived conflicts, there are 4 other council members which in theory do not have the same conflict to move forward the wishes of the citizens.

2) There are candidates that are close friends with developers. There is no way to disclose this so you have no way of knowing. But there are potential conflicts that we cannot even safeguard ourselves against there.

3) There are candidates that date developers. Again, there is no way to disclose this, but I am sure you can see the potential for conflict there and there is no way to disclose.

4) There are candidates that have owned multiple properties in the city. I have no such entanglements.

I guess my bottom line is that I have disclosed to you my financial truth. So you can see it in black and white. I’d personally rather know than not. And luckily, my financial investments are largely tied to my career and are associated with companies that are not operating in East Palo Alto. There are thousands of tech companies. I am invested in 7. The chance for danger seems slim....but worth noting to be safe. So, I offered the truth to be safe.

Hope this helps.


Posted by Aquamarine
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 11, 2018 at 1:22 pm

S. Dill, it's highly notable that Regina Wallace-Jones hasn't served on any of the main, long-standing boards or commissions. The tech advisory commission quite frankly doesn't count for much. She's not been part of the democratic process at this level. How many board/commission meetings has she attended?

How quickly could Wallace-Jones come up to speed as a new council member? She has a reputation of associating herself with successful groups and community projects/focuses without it being clear that she did any of the heavy lifting. This is an age old tactic that is easy to see through if one pays attention.

And, Ms. Wallace-Jones, I certainly don't speak for Donna Rutherford. I'm asking for myself and any other voter who's interested if you asked Rutherford not to run or to drop out. The fact that you've been asked this question several times and dodge answering it directly, fully and truthfully is telling, and very worrisome. Just tell us the truth.


Posted by Aquamarine
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 11, 2018 at 2:06 pm

LOL at Dinan's attempt to paint Wallace-Jones as the only financially secure candidate.EPA has had plenty of financially secure people run for office. Is the Walkace-Jones condo also her timeshare? Or she sold the condo and you're unaware that she slid? Or did she forget to mention she owns two properties in EPA?


Posted by We Are The People
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 4, 2018 at 4:33 pm

ADDRESSING THE NEW POTENTIAL COUNCIL CANDIDATES:

The Tech Industry & The Developer's were here decades prior to the 5 Newbie Candidates. Including Ms Wallace-Jones.
They know very little of The Tech Industry and The Developers that have been "Hawking" around EPA for decades.
The Current Council Members have gotten to know The Suspects, and Know their Habits.
MY concerns are, The Current Council Members don't Actually know What they are Up to? They may know a few things. But this becomes evident, when a project comes before them. And 9 times out of 10, it is not an advantage towards the Citizens. This is when it feels like they are giving EPA Away!

The Developers have obtained the graveyard of the "Wrecking yards" The Land is just sitting there and there are plans to build. But the buildings will not be for the Citizens to Use.
Will Regina Wallace-Jones be able to address this or will the One Council person or (two) have their favorites to come in first & grab from everyone else?

There is One City Council Member that is Obvious "Clannish".
The reason that I say this is my encounters with City Employee's.
The Clannish Council person seems to pay attention to their donor Culture.

I also don't care for when WE Ask about servicing The Community with Small Business Service. Over 200 Business Lost Their Business location and The New Buildings are not allowing them in, unless they are HIGH PROFILE and mostly Technology related. The City Council Allows "Outsiders" to discriminate as to who does business. Who will use the Buildings & how and where!

The Outside (Humans) look upon EPA as "Not Normal" why is that?
(As Told to us in a Meeting at the YMCA).
Its simple....OUTSIDERS don't speak the same language. Or, when they don't get what they want, they slander.
Its almost like they don't have (enough) respect for the Council. Why is that?
The City MUSTS be more forceful and Direct.

I don't believe that Regina would tell Donna this? (Not to her face anyway).
Regina has requested a call from Donna to her. To end this madness rumor.
I think that this is made up. Educated refine people don't Act like that.

Further more. My concerns are that EPA is losing its Original Culture.
By this I Mean to Say is. Along with "Gentrification" prior, to that The
Demographics has changed and They obtained their Own Supermarket and "Catwalk" and numerous other items.
Now they are attempting to get rid of Older "Incumbents" that have paved the way.
Sorry if you can't VOTE. But I guess that you can Buy you a Council person or two.


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