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Commission system up for an overhaul in Palo Alto

Original post made on Dec 11, 2019

Citing widespread confusion about the roles and rules of local commissions, the Palo Alto City Council agreed on Monday to explore a series of reforms to the longstanding commission system.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, December 10, 2019, 5:03 PM

Comments (7)

Posted by Becky Sanders
a resident of Ventura
on Dec 11, 2019 at 10:42 am

Becky Sanders is a registered user.

"How do you get rid of someone on the commission who you don't like or who doesn't align with you?" she asked, noting that the city currently has such a situation. "If we were to vote to remove someone from the commission, what are the rights of the person who would perhaps be removed?"

This is Liz Kniss speaking. And Liz is right, we don't want to get rid of people we don't like just because we don't like them, like the KGB. Perhaps some clarification is in order:

What we are talking about here is ethics, not personal disagreements on matters of tastes, likes and dislikes. There is a glaring difference between not wanting to go out to dinner with someone and allowing that person to game the system, abuse colleagues, neighbors and speakers before the commission.

Nancy Pelosi isn't leading the impeachment against Trump because he's a jerk. She's leading the impeachment because she, like most of her colleagues on the Hill, believes Trump is in violation of the Constitution and the law.

At our level of engagement, we realize that hating and baiting people has no place in public discourse. Our goal is for our public servants to maintain the highest standards, ethical and respectful conduct and serving the public interest, not personal gain. There is nothing personal about asking that Michael Alcheck be investigated and if found lacking, which any fifth grader could point out at this point, removed in due process.

Thank you.

Posted by Becky Sanders
a resident of Ventura
on Dec 11, 2019 at 11:35 am

Becky Sanders is a registered user.

PS In case any one is in doubt, I would be delighted at any time to have dinner with Liz. I've know Liz for years in connection with my former job as Program Manager at Midpen Media. She appeared regularly on our election coverage shows as a commentator. I don't always agree with Liz, but that has nothing to do with my admiration for and appreciation of her years of public service. Just trying to keep it professional over here in beautiful Ventura!

Posted by Updated article....
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 11, 2019 at 12:44 pm

Interesting that this article has been amended without indication. The paragraph about Alcheck has substantially changed. I wonder how this came about? Before Alcheck had relied on rules he participated in making now the article states otherwise. What gives?

Posted by Gennady Sheyner
Palo Alto Weekly staff writer
on Dec 11, 2019 at 1:00 pm

Gennady Sheyner is a registered user.

@Updated Article. The prior version of the article erroneously stated that he relied on the new rules for the carport. Even though various council members and residents have questioned Alcheck's conduct for not recusing himself or disclosing his project, he received his initial permits for carports before the 2015 meeting (the permits for converting them to garages came later) and I modified the story to correct the error and clarify the sequence. I appreciate your comment, which was posted before I made the correction note at the bottom of the story. Sorry for the error.

Posted by Updated article....
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 11, 2019 at 1:09 pm

What does this mean? Gennady are you saying that he didn't actually have a conflict of interest? What did the changes to the zoning do for Alcheck?

Posted by Make it public..
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 11, 2019 at 1:44 pm

Make it public.. is a registered user.

I agree that this discussion should happen in noticed, agendized public meetings of the existing P&S Committee, NOT in closed door sessions of a two-person ad hoc committee. It is too important.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 11, 2019 at 4:48 pm

@Make It Public “It is too important” is living in some kind of fantasy world with no idea how Palo Alto government works in reality. If it goes to P&S nothing will happen. P&S meets once a month, except when they cancel because somebody’s busy, which is almost half their meetings. 7 total P&S meetings all last year, and when they do meet they don’t do much except listen to city staff. Cormack and DuBois are smart and effective and will do actual work, and have an intelligent proposal back to the council, in public, before P&S even gets around to having a meeting next year. Asking for P&S wasn’t transparency, it was to kill it just in case it might affect Alcheck.

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