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Qualifications for Palo Alto City Council candidate

Original post made by Mary Carlstead, Duveneck/St. Francis, on Jun 18, 2007

What should be the 'ideal' qualifications for a Palo Alto City Council candidate?

What should be the 'minimum' qualifications for a Palo Alto City Council candidate?

Comments (9)

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Posted by Marvin
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 18, 2007 at 6:45 pm

There should not be "ideal" or "minimum" qualifications to be a candidate for City Council. Anyone who wants to run should file the papers and then we can judge him/her based on waht they say and what they stand for.

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Posted by Voter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 18, 2007 at 6:50 pm

Right now it looks like any hot bodies to fill those four empty seats at City Hall would be welcome.

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Posted by Otto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 18, 2007 at 7:11 pm

Agreement that currently defined PA infrastructure needs are real, and will support all necessary means to rebuild that infrastructure - including bonds for police, library and rec center.

Any candidate who does not overtly support the above will find many hundreds of people working AGAINST their nomination.

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Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 18, 2007 at 7:54 pm

We definitely need people with qualifications to fill a council seat. Candidates can – and will – say anything to win votes. It’s called politics. It’s impossible to judge a person by what he/she says on the campaign trail. We only know what people really stand for by their actions.

At minimum, my ideal candidates have business experience in line management where they’ve been responsible for setting priorities, budgeting to priorities, managing to the budget, holding people accountable and being held accountable themselves. Such candidates will understand the importance of fiscal responsibility and measurable objectives.

I’d like candidates to be

- less concerned with looking good and “playing nice” than getting things done for the good of the city

- tough negotiators who aren’t afraid to say “no”

- comfortable with confrontation and open to conflicting opinions, because without hearing all sides of an issue, it’s impossible to make good decisions

- serious about the council’s oversight responsibility, paying attention to what’s happening at City Hall and knowing in detail where our money is being spent

More difficult to measure is the quality of leadership. I’ve worked for people who were truly inspiring. They were able to articulate a clear vision and assure those who joined them that, together, we could achieve the vision. Charisma is a big part of leadership, but so is a successful track record.

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Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 18, 2007 at 11:02 pm

I think there are many hundreds of people who will NOT support the library/rec center/police bonds – until the city council proves it knows how to spend our money wisely.

Council continues to demonstrate its inability to prioritize and its lack of fiscal responsibility. For example:
- $225,000 for consultants to study a new refuse company
- utility rate increases to pump money into the general fund
- over $3m already sunk into a history museum
- $181,000 to create an environmental coordinator position
- endless time and money thrashing on FTTH
- $65,000 for “the color of Palo Alto”
- $444,000 for playground equipment for one park
- $70 - $80K for PR to sell us on the bond issues

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Posted by Another Voter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 19, 2007 at 1:24 am

We need someone who will treat the entire city equally.

We need someone who won't close down a community shopping center because a developer wants to build houses there to make $$.

We need someone who is really concerned about C0 2 and the millions of gallons of gasoline burned every week by commuters who contribute almost nothing to the community except smog and filth.

We need someone who isn't part of the entrenched establishment that pretends to listen to others in the community,but votes for what is best for themselves, their companies and businesses and to hell with you!

We need someone who dosen't pretend to be an enviromentalist ,but works for large developers and wants high density housing in other parts of the city where he and his friends don't live.

We need ordinary people who are concerned with the quality of life in this city and don't plan to move to Portola Valley, Los Altos Hills when Palo Alto becomes more of a city of industry and unlivable.

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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 19, 2007 at 11:21 am

My ideal candidate died, rest his soul.
I will vote for a Yacht Harbor candidate who reopens access to the bay taken away by one of the city's least brilliant moves. Too late for the building, alas, but a chance to bring back our Sea Scouts.

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Posted by just thinking
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 19, 2007 at 2:38 pm


Consumption of food, oxygen, and a news source from outside Santa Clara County at are bare essentials -- and the only essentials bared!

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Posted by bruce
a resident of University South
on Jun 20, 2007 at 5:04 pm

I subscribe to Pat's first "letter" above. In particular we need people who can run Palo Alto like a business - adopt a budget and meet priorities without continually changing both.

Solving a decline in revenue by increasing taxes is something a business can't do. With a short fall in revenue, a business cuts costs, not spends more.

Strong leaders stay the course, not sway with the winds of importuning residents.

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