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Editorial: Burt, Lauing, Stone, Kou for City Council

Original post made on Oct 2, 2020

The Palo Alto Weekly editorial board's recommendations for council reflect a desire to choose candidates who have the governance experience and knowledge of the community to successfully navigate the many challenges the city faces.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, October 2, 2020, 12:00 AM

Comments (58)

Posted by Tom DuBois
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 2, 2020 at 12:14 am

Tom DuBois is a registered user.

Congrats to Pat Burt, Ed Lauing, Greer Stone and Lydia Kou for well earned endorsements. You four have the experience and know the community to help us recover from Covid stronger than ever and prepared for
the next challenge.

Posted by Eric Filseth
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 2, 2020 at 12:52 am

Eric Filseth is a registered user.

+1 to what Tom said

Posted by City's Bright Future
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2020 at 1:27 am

City's Bright Future is a registered user.

Thank you Palo Alto Weekly. Once again you got it exactly right.

I can't remember when four candidates stood out so clearly from the rest, with much more knowledge and experience, and who can work well with others.

That each discusses specific attainable policies and solutions to benefit our City and it's residents sets them apart from the other candidates. I get so weary of hearing vague generalities and value statements that offer no substitute for the ability to actually govern or lead.

Congratulations Lydia, Ed, Greer and Pat. May it be smooth sailing to election day.

Posted by writing wrongs
a resident of University South
on Oct 2, 2020 at 5:49 am

writing wrongs is a registered user.

Thank you to the Weekly for recommending to Palo Alto voters the candidates who will lead the community in a positive direction with the smartest, most informed and experienced choices. I hope voters will heed the Weekly's advice and shun other choices that will only result in continuing many of the unproductive, naive, inexperienced albeit likely well-intended voices that only serve to keep the decision making in the hands of the staff. Council, now maybe more than ever, needs to pull up its sleeves and work together to heal the community from several issues of the recent past and set a course to the other side of the pandemic. This group of four joining the continuing three can do that. It is a hopeful future the Weekly puts to us.

Posted by azr
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 2, 2020 at 7:29 am

azr is a registered user.

Kudos for a thoughtful analysis of the candidates and nuanced description of the minority position on the current council towards residents. We need respectful cohesion of goals and are so lucky to have these four great candidates with years of experience and history. Also, it's very encouraging to see many new, smart, diverse faces; I've enjoyed hearing from them at the forums. More power to them down the road.

Posted by Norman Beamer
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 2, 2020 at 7:47 am

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I hope these four are the ones elected. They know the city and have the right approach to development.

Posted by PaloAltoVoter
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 2, 2020 at 7:59 am

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Thanks to the Weekly for cutting through the platitudes and vagaries to select the substantial candidates who can do the job. Palo Alto Neighborhoods had its forum last night and it was the first time that I saw the candidates actually challenge each other and respond to positions. It was illuminating. Anyone that missed it should watch it on MidPen TV or YouTube. You will understand why the Weekly made these endorsements

Posted by Haru Sato
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 2, 2020 at 8:06 am

Haru Sato is a registered user.

Having observed Council member Tanaka on Council, I'd say the Weekly's comments were very accurate. He wastes time on meaningless details, repeatedly questions things that have been explained to him because he knows it will be picked up in the newspapers, and ends up being extremely ineffective. He may be smart but he doesn't seem to know how to get things done in a government forum

Posted by TuppenceT
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 2, 2020 at 8:21 am

TuppenceT is a registered user.

Thank you Weekly - your selection shows the enormous value of local journalism and your understanding of our town. Kou, Stone, Lauing and Burt bring the synergy of heart and mind and they have the experience to guide our community through difficult times. Thank you for seeing through the hollow promises of people who are incoherent and ineffective or alternatively, serve a different master than the residents of Palo Alto.

Posted by Voter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2020 at 8:33 am

Voter is a registered user.

So three of the 10 candidates were white males and all three white males were endorsed. That is such a coincidence wow!

The mask slips.

Posted by Neighborhood Inactivist
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 2, 2020 at 9:03 am

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A thoughtful set of endorsements, persuasively argued. Nicely done.

Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 2, 2020 at 9:39 am

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I’ve lived here on and off since 1974 and would say that the one candidate who inspires me and gives me hope for Palo Alto, and America, is Rebecca Eisenberg. She’s a Stanford grad, with a law degree from Harvard, and experience in the local currency of helping tech companies.
My ranked choices are Eisenberg, Stone, Malone and Kou. I put Burt near the bottom. He should move on.
God bless America, God bless South Palo Alto — tho I live downtown north.

Posted by Paly Student
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 2, 2020 at 9:44 am

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These candidates will join a council bloc that is the exact reason Palo Alto is being investigated for civil rights violations by the FBI (rampant police abuse) and also being sued by the ACLU. Not to mention the city being hopelessly unaffordable for anybody seeking to move back into the community they grew up in or for anybody who lacks generational wealth or an extremely high paying job. Pat Burt even admitted he supports segregation in the Weekly's forum and Lydia Kou talks about housing the same way segregationists of the 1950's did. Greer Stone misrepresents studies about zoning so blatantly that the authors of the very studies he cites have called him out [portion removed.] These candidates hold Donald Trump values. They only pay lip service to affordable housing but their records are clear, they are segregationists. Palo Alto needs to get out of the 1950's. Don't vote for these candidates.

Posted by Kudos
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 2, 2020 at 9:54 am

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Kudos to the Weekly for endorsing candidates with proven experience, long-standing dedication to serving our community, and wide-ranging skills and expertise that are much needed on council. In these uncertain times, on-the-job training is a luxury we can't afford.

Tanaka and Lee also have lengthy city experience. However Tanaka has proven ineffective at best, wastes precious council time chasing headlines and pandering to special interests, and is beholden to developer interests - to the tune of $70,000 this cycle alone. Perhaps that fundraising power explains why so many of his endorsers come from outside of Palo Alto - why has he been courting them instead of Palo Altans?

For his part, Lee is a passionate advocate for the causes he believes in. But in his city work, too often that passion has translated into aggression, alienating (and even bullying) colleagues and staff. That demeanor has severely impeded his effectiveness. Combined with his relative inexperience in several critical policy areas, it is clear he needs some more seasoning.

Posted by john guislin
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 2, 2020 at 10:08 am

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If elected these four candidates will represent a return the the principle of government of the people, for the people and by the people. They are thoughtful and rational leaders who know how to listen to and understand the concerns of their constituents.

Posted by Hamilton
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 2, 2020 at 10:11 am

Hamilton is a registered user.

Great job to the Weekly on these endorsements. These are the four candidates (Kou, Lauing, Stone & Burt) that I am voting for.

Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 2, 2020 at 10:30 am

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

I could not disagree more with @John Guislin— at least since 2011, when a cabal of developer friendlies pushed thru an initiative designed to limit deliberation on local elections, Palo Altans have barely been able to self-govern, and the commercial real estate rout continues.
Pat Burt more than anybody, [portion removed] epitomizes this phenomenon.
Palo Alto, arguably, is run out of 500 University and NOT 250 Hamilton. Pat and Ed are pledged to them, not us. Methinks.

Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 2, 2020 at 10:51 am

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

Web Link
It’s not illegal but just not a paragon of democracy —one person one vote and all that —if plausibly true that a small group of builders /developers /landlords —many of whom have been here multiple generations —work the system for their gain and to the exclusion of getting the best services and amenities for the other 50,000 residents.
If residents want this to change, they would have to argue harder than the Weekly does here.
The Weekly wants four more years, forty more years, a thousand years, you get the picture.

Posted by City's Bright Future
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2020 at 11:09 am

City's Bright Future is a registered user.

Lauing, Stone, Kou and Burt are the only four candidates that seem reasonable to me based on their knowledge and experience. They take positions on issues that matter to Palo Altans,showing good common sense - qualities lacking in some other candidates.

Raven Malone and Steven Lee as they said in the Weekly and the PAN candidate forums, believe we have "exclusionary zoning" in all of our neighborhoods that keeps out black and brown people who can't afford to live here. They support dividing single family lots and building densely on them.

Along with Cari Templeton, they want want to add duplexes (Cari) or
4-plexes which can total 5 to 7 units per lot in every Palo Alto neighborhood (main house, ADU, Jr. ADU already allowed, plus 2 - 4 more equals 5 to 7 units per divided lot). Parking? Schools? Libraries? Community services? Otherimpacts? Quality of life? No thought. Wow.

Exclusionary zoning guru, author Richard Rothstein (The Color of Law), in an interview with Richard Russo even admits that changing zoning to allow more density won't make much difference in race diversity given the existing vast inequalites of wealth. He said during his Palo Alto Reads webinar that if we did the above, "young tech workers would move in" instead of bringing back the wished for diversity. Listen to the whole webinar to hear this.

Lee also doesn't work well with others - he rendered the HRC dysfunctional with his agression and lack of a modicum of sensitivity causing tears by Commissioners and the public. Over 40% of his donations come from out of towners who can't vote but can influence - it doesn't matter he has capped donations - it doesn't change these facts. His support should come from Palo Altans who he is supposed to represent. The four candidate endorsed are overwhelmingly funded by Palo Altans.

Thank you Palo Alto Weekly for have the common sense to endorse four excellent candidates for City Council. Lauing, Kou, Burt and Stone.

Posted by Rebecca White
a resident of Southgate
on Oct 2, 2020 at 11:17 am

Rebecca White is a registered user.

I endorse Rebecca Eisenberg for city council. I've lived in Palo Alto since 1976 and I've known Rebecca for years. We've spent a lot of quality time together at baseball games. Rebecca is smart as hell. She is tenacious. She is Relentless with a capital R in the best way. Rebecca will fight her butt off for our Palo Alto 'Community' over the Palo Alto 'Business'. Maybe even more importantly, Rebecca has a unique voice that would inspire meaningful debate within the council. We don't just need a shattering of the old guard thinking, we need an injection of energy and fierce intellect. We need a Rebecca Eisenberg.

Posted by Rebecca White
a resident of Southgate
on Oct 2, 2020 at 11:28 am

Rebecca White is a registered user.

One more thing: when will we stop thinking white men are the best at stuff? I mean, some of them are great but come on.

Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Oct 2, 2020 at 11:33 am

chris is a registered user.

If people vote for the Weekly's recommendations, almost no housing will be built in the next four years. Ironically, instead of local control, these people on the council will incur the wrath of the rest of the state and Palo Alto will actually lose more control than if the council were composed on members who are more realistic about what it takes to build housing. Too many boomers on the council do not represent the city properly.

Posted by City's Bright Future
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2020 at 11:33 am

City's Bright Future is a registered user.

I don't see any reason to trust Greg Tanaka to represent the interests of Palo Altans given most of his money is from big out of town developers and Real Estate interests, much in big donations. They sure must want something in return, and that isn't going to be in my interest or most residents.

He also tries to not tell the truth on his voting record until cornered. See his interview at the Southgate Women's Group about his business tax no vote in 2019.
Web Link

He isn't very effective on the Council - he alienates Members by talking issues into the ground, exhausting everyone needlessly. Tanaka without Borders.

What a shame to re-elect him.

Posted by Well done, Weekly!
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 2, 2020 at 11:55 am

Well done, Weekly! is a registered user.

The next few years will not be easy for Palo Alto. COVID-19 will be with us for a while and its economic impacts will be with us even longer. If that isn’t challenging enough, Palo Alto still has its pre-existing conditions of too much traffic, too many offices, slumping retail, and insufficient housing especially for low and moderate income levels.

In addition to these problems, the Council will also have to rein in a City administration that has inexplicably become so cozy with developers that the administration routinely puts developer interests before those of residents.

But watching the candidate forums, it is clear that these four candidates have the understanding, experience, and drive to address the City’s issues. It won’t be easy, but these four candidates are unquestionably the best ones to guide the City through this challenging environment.

Posted by Anne
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 2, 2020 at 12:02 pm

Anne is a registered user.

Mark Weiss, can you elaborate more on your 500 University reference? I'm not familiar with the address/its owners/occupants. Thank you.

Posted by RPopp
a resident of Monroe Park
on Oct 2, 2020 at 12:14 pm

RPopp is a registered user.

No surprises here - The Weekly is nothing if not predictable. Not a single one of these candidates will be getting my vote. Although it may align with the vocal and active user base here in Town Square, and this is solely based on the outcome of the previous election, I do not believe this group represents the majority opinion in Palo Alto. We need Council members who will be leading us forward, not holding us back.

Posted by Steve Dabrowski
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 2, 2020 at 12:17 pm

Steve Dabrowski is a registered user.

Good for the Weekly-my choices exactly. Hope they all win.

Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 2, 2020 at 12:25 pm

Gale Johnson is a registered user.

Good reporting and good choices. I actually penciled in those four before the article was written. I've followed CC matters and meetings since Cory Wolbach, a family friend, was on council. I try to watch the Monday night meetings on Zoom, but I get sleepy long before many of them are over. I think these candidates will work well together and actually get things done for the residents of our community. I saw the others on the online debate and I liked many of their ideas but I think they need some seasoning, gaining experience working as volunteers on issues, serving on committees, or on commissions. I encourage them to stick with it, stay involved, and volunteer for committees or try to get on commissions to get your feet wet, as a stepping stone to serving on CC. It's a tough job but thanks to all those who are willing to do it.

To 'Voter' and all those who liked his/her post...just stop it! Please! Why do you feel compelled to bring race into every discussion?

And to Mark've been pounding that drum too long, and sitting on the sidelines...much like me. Try another run for CC and see what happens. If your ideas are so great you should be able to convince residents to vote for you and get on council.

Posted by Citizen
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 2, 2020 at 12:40 pm

Citizen is a registered user.

Thank God Greg Tanaka is running. He seems to be the only candidate focused on sensible spending in this time of economic crisis. Perhaps the city may need to reduce its spending even more. The other candidates aren't equipped to do so. And ultimately it's our money they're spending.

Posted by Malone instead of Kuo
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Oct 2, 2020 at 12:41 pm

Malone instead of Kuo is a registered user.

Yes but I am substituting in Malone for Kuo. Burt and Liang will be great but they are also old white guys. Malone will bring a fresh and diverse perspective. I regret that she has no experience either living here or in local government. I risk that she will be just a "useful tool" for the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. I am hopeful that she will find a way to be productive and effective (unlike Fine) while also making herself heard. We will see. Stone will also bring a younger perspective.

Posted by Citizen
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 2, 2020 at 12:48 pm

Citizen is a registered user.

Greer Stone wants to spend public dollars and use public lands to build housing for those who are not low income. What? Teachers and firefighters in Palo Alto make more from their single salary than the median HOUSEHOLD (4 units) income in Santa Clara county. (Not to mention their generous benefits and iron clad job security) Yet Greer wants to build housing on public lands to benefit them.

Posted by Suzanne Keehn
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 2, 2020 at 1:39 pm

Suzanne Keehn is a registered user.

Thank you for your very thoughtful Opinion Piece. You really covered many issues that we have been experiencing in this community during the last several years. The issue that has troubled me the most is that Residents have not been listened to. We have so many talented people in this community that could be part of creative solutions, and save money on expensive consultants that don't live in Palo Alto.

I know that the four canidates you are recommending, Lydia Kou, Greer Stone, Ed Lauing and Pat Burt will listen and act for our city and our ensure the liveability of Palo Alto.

Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 2, 2020 at 1:42 pm

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

A better example than 500 University is Lytton Plaza. There is a plaque there that list 20 or more wealthy landlords and developers who forced the renovation of the plaza in 2010; I’m suggesting there is a very real dynamic that people like them do not want people like me or Rebecca Eisenberg asking too many questions or coming up with too many ideas of what would make Palo Alto better for the average person here.

Posted by mjh
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 2, 2020 at 1:44 pm

mjh is a registered user.


"Yet Greer wants to build housing on public lands to benefit them."

It benefits the rest of us who live in Palo Alto just as much if not more to have those who support our community live here.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2020 at 2:31 pm

Resident is a registered user.

The sleeper in all this is Greer Stone, who hasn’t raised as much money or controversy as some of the other candidates, but who’s been among the most consistent of all of them.

What you get with Greer is a deep, even defining commitment to social justice, but without the resentment, anger and - dare I say it? - intolerance of some of the advocates in this space. Sure he’s young and a renter, but you don’t find a lot of Twitter-vitriol from him, just a dedicated focus on service to the underserved, without the distracting (and misplaced) histrionics. Some of the other advocates undoubtedly resent him for his lack of bitterness against Boomers, but he’s a true liberal in the best sense of the word, as well as a pragmatic and genuinely nice person who actually likes Palo Alto residents. He had my vote well before the endorsement, and kudos to the Weekly for recognizing him.

Posted by Giraffe
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 2, 2020 at 2:31 pm

Giraffe is a registered user.

I don't understand 'affordable housing'. Who will be able to afford it ? A checkout person from Safeway? A new kindergarten teacher? Say we build a couple thousand units. They will soon be filled. Then what, a few thousand more units? Where does it end? Isn't this just treating the symptoms instead of the disease? Pumping air into a leaky tire every few days instead of patching the leak?

Posted by What Will They Do Next
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 2, 2020 at 3:11 pm

What Will They Do Next is a registered user.

@Malone instead of Kuo ... I respectfully disagree. After being bombarded with e-mails from the Malone campaign I responded by asking whether or not she wanted to defund the police. It's a simple yes or no question. The response was typical politician speak. "Come to one of my community get togethers and hear what I'm about." Translation: I want to defund the police and I'll try to convince you as to why. She is a social justice warrior based on what I have read on her website and heard when she has opined on various matters. Add to that she has just moved here and cannot possibly have a full understanding of Palo Alto, it's residents and politics. Sorry, but no.

Posted by What Will They Do Next
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 2, 2020 at 3:24 pm

What Will They Do Next is a registered user.

Steven Lee is an avowed social justice warrior and makes no bones about it. He also gets much of his donations from people outside of Palo Alto as noted by City's Bright Future.

By all standards, Palo Alto is a very socially responsible community and while there is always room for improvement, we don't need the proselytizing and gaslighting of a self promoter. If you're not sure about the definition of gaslighting, look it up. It explains a lot.

Posted by Citizen
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 2, 2020 at 5:47 pm

Citizen is a registered user.

@mjh - why devote public lands and public dollars to build housing for teachers or firefighters who are not low income? Why not actually serve low income people with public funds devoted to affordable housing, rather than those who aren't low income, like teachers and firefighters. Are low income people not whom we should be serving with our scarce public resources for affordable housing? We talk about bringing housing to where the jobs are - then would we be devoting those public resources to those who are actually low income, like seniors, like the disabled, like those who make low wages, like gardeners, like home health care aides, and others? Or are you saying we won't benefit from these people living in our community?

Posted by Alimc
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 2, 2020 at 6:51 pm

Alimc is a registered user.

I notice in the candidates statements there is no mention of how we will handle increased traffic when all this extra housing is built.

Posted by Andrew Boone
a resident of another community
on Oct 3, 2020 at 7:43 am

Andrew Boone is a registered user.

Oddly absent from these endorsements is any discussion of transportation issues. Pat Burt is the only candidate who voted to approve building TWO new car parking garages (one at California Avenue and one in Downtown) to increase(!) car parking supply by hundreds of cars at a cost of over $150,000 PER car parking space. The Cal Ave garage alone is already costing us $4 million per year - straight out of the General Fund. Building new car parking garages (instead of apartments!) just blocks away from two of the Bay Area's busiest transit stations and in the heart of an extensive regional bike-friendly and walk-friendly street network is astoundingly misguided and damaging. It also violates a number of goals set by the Comprehensive Plan to reduce pollution and dependence on automobiles. Lydia Kou and Greg Tanaka certainly would've voted for new car parking garages too had they been on the council in 2016. Not sure about the other candidates.

Of course our severe housing shortage in Palo Alto is what creates most of the car traffic in the first place, and Burt, Kou, and Tanaka clearly haven't done anything effective about it in their many years in power. In my opinion vote in new candidates who support reducing car traffic and increasing our housing supply - not the other way around. Also, many actions taken by City Manager Ed Shikada and other city officials are indeed troubling - especially converting the affordable downtown housing President Hotel into a luxury boutique hotel. What have we become? At least in this regard I expect Pat Burt to restore some good leadership and common sense to the council.

Posted by Pat Burt
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 3, 2020 at 8:13 am

Pat Burt is a registered user.

I did not vote for the garages since I was not on the council when they were approved.
When the oversized Cal Ave garage was approved in 2018, I joined a group who publicly opposed publicly its size.
The the council has placed the downtown garage on hold.

Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 3, 2020 at 6:07 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

“Good reporting and good choices. I actually penciled in those four before the article was written.”

Sure you did....
Of course the Weekly makes the absolutely most boring, predictable (and in my opinion, with the exception of Stone, incorrect)of all endorsements and most of the readership/commentators here are willing to mindlessly follow their recommendations. Please think for yourselves and make your own choices.

First of all Tanaka and Eisenberg are CLEARLY the most intelligent and professional candidates. They should easily be endorsed and elected.

Then the weekly conveniently ignores the ONLY exciting candidate. The real winner here is Raven Malone! I am throwing my full support behind her. Raven has lived here for less than a year and has absolutely no experience. So what? Everyone deserves a chance! Her fight for social justice will obviously give her enough experience to prepare her for a position on our city council. Her fresh ideas and fresh perspective will help change PA for the better. She’s exciting and her vision for improving and changing PA is a fantastic vision of the future! PA is in desperate need of fresh ideas. Raven will easily be on that city council now. Congrats Raven!

Change is sometimes hard. Most of these candidates haven’t accomplished anything in their time(years!) on the council (looking at you KOU!) Don’t blindly follow these endorsements, think a little harder for yourselves about your vote, and especially you should back the great Raven Malone! Thank you.

Final note, this article was way too hard on our great City Manager Ed Shikada! Everyone expects some sort of perfection. Shikada gets things done and he gets results. So what if he implemented a curfew? I don’t blame him for that at all. That’s his job. He should have kept the curfew running for the full 10 days to keep everyone in line. Cancelling it after only two days was his REAL mistake. What if he didn’t implement the curfew and everyone ran out and started committing crimes? He would have been blamed for NOT implementing the curfew. You all would have been saying, “you didn’t protect us Shikada!” Your whole article premise of basing your endorsements on what Shikada did or didn’t do is nonsense. Nice try the Weekly! I am detecting political bias in this entire endorsement here except for Stone.

Posted by The Endorsements are for last decade's problems
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 3, 2020 at 7:54 pm

The Endorsements are for last decade's problems is a registered user.

I suspect the editor will take this post down since he tends to do that with posts that disagree with him, but this recommendation is totally wrong. It uses criteria from the last decade when we had a booming economy like no other.

Right not, we have the worst recession in history and we have no problem with too much development and will not for at least the next four years. All this talk about who is pro/anti growth is last decade's problems not today's.

Tanaka has consistently been the voice of reason on the finances. I've watched him in many meetings. He is effective and courageous. His lone vote has nothing to do with his effectiveness and all to do with the spend baby spend attitude of the other council members. While the tax and spend philosophy worked last decade, it clearly will not work now. I wish we had more candidates like Tanaka. It seems like most of the other candidates have only ideas of how to spend even more.

The worst choice is Pat Burt. I can't believe the anti-biz former Mayor is a good choice when we are starting to have an unemployment problem among our residents. Pat's idea of "enforcing a ban on coding at ground zero of Silicon Valley" is truly scary: Web Link

The endorsements should be based on today's problems, not yesterday's.

Posted by What Will They Do Next
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 3, 2020 at 8:52 pm

What Will They Do Next is a registered user.

@ The Voice of Palo Alto ... re: Raven Malone ... no she's not exciting nor will she be a winner and you are not the voice of Palo Alto. She has no chance of winning a seat on the Council. Can't even answer a simple yes or no question, like are you in favor of defunding police. I asked after a bombardment of e-mails from her campaign and got no answer other than "come and listen to her speak." Politic speech for let me convince you why I want to defund the police. We don't need social justice warriors here. Palo Alto is a very socially responsible community and we can always do better as can everyone else, but if you want to preach that stuff, go to where it's needed. It's not needed here. Look up the definition of gaslighting. It explains a lot. Sorry, but no.

Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 3, 2020 at 9:47 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

@what will they do next
First, of all I am The Voice. [Portion removed.] Raven Malone is the ONLY fresh and exciting candidate. The world is changing and you can’t keep voting like it’s 1976 anymore! You keep bringing up the “defund the police” nonsense here without any actual evidence, just your repeated word about this and some supposed emails. Produce those supposed emails NOW! You are just spreading misinformation and what you are doing in this forum is the actual definition of gaslighting ironically! Stop spreading false information about Raven and trying to bring her down, and rethink YOUR vote before you make a mistake! Raven has this in the bag now with my support. [Portion removed.]

Posted by Mimi
a resident of South of Midtown
on Oct 4, 2020 at 1:12 pm

Mimi is a registered user.

As a Latinx woman in an increasingly-progressive society, I would like to see more diversity on Palo Alto City Council, but these are CLEARLY the four strongest candidates! I would much rather vote for bright, accomplished, experienced representatives who know our city's issues vs. elect someone just for diversity's sake. In my opinion, bringing a "fresh perspective" is code for "inexperienced and lacking knowledge of the community." These four — particularly Burt & Lauing — have impressed me the most in recent forums with their poise, clear grasp on Palo Alto's issues and commitment to SPECIFIC action. They represent an opportunity to actually get things done here in Palo Alto, regardless of their age and race. Burt, Lauing, Stone and Kou have my vote.

Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 4, 2020 at 2:21 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

Wrong. Final Decision!
Here is CLEARLY the way to go with your vote and here are CLEARLY the four strongest candidates:

Tanaka/Eisenberg/Stone/The GREAT RAVEN MALONE

(Sorry Lee...I flip flopped from yesterday but you will just have to live with it)

There is your new and improved city council.
Also, don’t just talk about diversity, be about it. Now is your chance.
Don’t be a robot and let the Weekly make the decision for you. Followers of TVOPA time to come together and unite our votes!

Posted by AnnetteG
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 6, 2020 at 12:41 pm

AnnetteG is a registered user.

the weekly got it right.
The 2020 election needs strong knowledgeable city leadership to face these critical times. We need city council members who are passionate leaders; who can build consensus to solve problems; who know the issues (both locally and regionally) and have extensive relationships with residents as well as connections outside Palo Alto; counselors who can build consensus to solve problems and implement solutions. candidates who are not focused on one issue. There is so much at stake.
Voting is important, but before you vote, get to know the candidates. Listen to the debates and read candidate responses to questions. The PAN (Palo Alto Neighborhoods) debate on October 1 will be a zoom broadcast and aired on the media center at 7 PM; moderated by former council member Hillary Freeman. The PAN questionnaire link is posted on the PAN web site
The issues are enormous – diversity, lack of low income and mid-range housing, office growth, budget deficits, loss of small businesses and mom and pop retail, public safety, unfunded mandates and more. The recent heat waves have made sustainability and environmental issues top priority.
With that said, here are my top picks, I will be voting to bring back former mayor Pat Burt and to re-elect council member Lydia Kou. Additionally, Parks and Recreation Commission, Ed Lauing, and former Human Relations Commissioner, Greer Stone, will compliment and balance the council and will well represent the community.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 6, 2020 at 4:13 pm

Resident is a registered user.

Posters above have commented on some candidates’ alleged non-answers on police-defunding questions. The Democratic Socialists of America, which explicitly advocates police defunding,* has endorsed Lee, Malone, Templeton and Eisenberg (Web Link though interestingly not Joe Biden. While many Palo Altans would find the DSA’s position extreme, people running for office ought to at least answer the question.

*From the Silicon Valley DSA website (Web Link

“xi. In order to build a just and equal society, which prioritizes reducing violence and victims rights we support the following:

• Black Lives Matter.

• Work to dismantle white supremacy, colonization, and all systems of oppression.

• Abolish police, abolish prisons, and remove all Student Resource Officers from Silicon Valley school districts.

• Implement Restorative Justice in schools and the legal system.

• End mass surveillance and big tech over-reach which infringes on our Constitutional rights.

xii. To obtain justice for and support the well-being of individuals and communities harmed by the criminal legal system, mass incarceration, income inequality and colonialism, the Justice Working Group:

• Advocate for the release of all incarcerated people, and for the immediate release of incarcerated individuals at high risk for COVID-19.

• Advocate for the Human Rights of incarcerated people and former felons, including the right to vote and record clearing.

• Advocate to end the state sanctioned enslavement that sends California felons to fight California wildfires.

• Advocate for new prisons to stop being built in California and for the closure of existing California prisons.

• Hold letter writing campaigns to show support for, and bear witness to, the people incarcerated in our community as well as incarcerated comrades such as Reality Winner, Josh Williams, Leonard Peltier and many others.

• Reparations for Black Americans and Indigenous people.

• Support the removal of symbols of injustice, such as the California Mission Bells, which symbolize oppression, genocide and enslavement to the Indigenous peoples of California.”

Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 6, 2020 at 4:28 pm

Me 2 is a registered user.

"As a Latinx woman in an increasingly-progressive society"

LOL. Most Latinos don't like this contrived way of describing themselves. And the fact that you had to put woman right after it shows how ironically silly this label is.

Posted by Gunn Papa
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Oct 6, 2020 at 4:49 pm

Gunn Papa is a registered user.

It would be interesting to know if the four candidates endorsed by the Weekly gave the most money in advertising to the Weekly. Bill Johnson: could you please disclose that?

Posted by Alex
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 12, 2020 at 10:18 am

Alex is a registered user.

What a terrible lineup of candidates. Burt, Kou, and Stone especially, as they actively delete and/or ban their (possible) constituents from their public-facing social media accounts (which legally are considered public forums by the way, and the first amendment applies).

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 13, 2020 at 8:39 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

All of the comments about commercial property. In the SJM/BAN 10.13 - "Palo Alto Office shopping spree tops $850M. " The company Alexandria Real Estate, sometimes acting through an affiliate, has bought up massive amounts of property in PA and SU. It notes that on SU property SU owns the land and only the buildings are for sale.
The properties include those on Geng Road, Embarcadero Place office complex, SAP properties on Hillview, Former SSL properties on Fabian Way, buildings on Porter Road, SU etc.

If we assume that property taxes are paid by the property owner then you have to determine if there were any "benefits" that were granted to Alexandria Real Estate by the City, County, and state. SU is responsible for the property taxes on their land.
So the issue of the business tax then has to determine who is leasing the property from Alexandria and what relationship is contractually agreed to between those parties. Note that Alexandria is also working properties in conjunction with Chase Center and the Warriors stadium in SF.

A Business Tax then is complicated. Since these properties are now changing hands one assumes that the property tax has been updated to the value of the sales.

Someone needs to define what the Business Tax is applied to - number of people working at the sites? Size of the property? what is required for any security protection - police or private company, etc.

Mark Weiss and all - need to get current on real estate transactions noted in the local papers. And the city needs to define what the business tax is applicable to - what the city provides for that tax. That is a qualifier for the police department and what services are provided - that is one qualifier for the business tax.

Side Note - the Sunday BAN business section had a lengthy article - "Kick-start your career as a Politician". Based on where you are located - your local chapter of your party affiliations can provide training and guidance on your new "career."
As you can see from the comments above there are political groups that have programmed areas of concern and responses to questions. We have all been on the receiving end of those "responses". The DSA noted above assumes that their specific concerns are a priority in this year's elections. But it is unclear what their relationship is to the Democratic Party official positions are - and who is funding what priorities.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 13, 2020 at 9:09 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Noting the DSL of Silicon Valley concerns above - Symbols of injustice - the Mission Bells. As children we visited all of the missions in CA - that is what those bells signify. The missions were the basis of the Catholic Church in CA.

Problem - Biden is a Catholic.

So each of these concerns has vast entanglements. The concerns listed are on-off's - parsed concerns which have many legal, well documented and long standing funding concerns. There can be advocacy groups but have to provide a solution. Releasing felons - then WHAT? Close prisons - then WHAT? Dismantle colonization - people who are in that position vote on their allegiance to a mother country. Some - if not a colony will not get support from Mother country - food, education, advocacy is period of trouble. A lot of loose ends.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 13, 2020 at 10:01 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

I looked at the web site for Alexandria Real Estate Holdings and they are in business from the east coast to the west coast. Boston, Maryland, to SF. Check them out. So the question to the City Manager is what was negotiated with them concerning the properties in the city. Property tax drives a lot of the school system budget and city budget. We need to know what portion they are paying - the rest is on the resident headcount. Let's get specific on the here and now - not what happened years ago.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Downtown North

on Oct 13, 2020 at 5:17 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Posted by Concerned Resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 31, 2020 at 8:09 am

Concerned Resident is a registered user.

After watching all the debates and reading online articles, I ended up voting for Varma. He's the only one who really supports small businesses and also has concrete proposals on how to help us now and in the future. It's important to have someone intelligent with new ideas and fresh blood in Palo Alto. I'd encourage everyone to read up on the candidates in this important election. Don't vote for the person who spent the most money and sent you the most mailers. Money shouldn't play a part in our election. Thank you.

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