Town Square

Post a New Topic

'The Color of Palo Alto' wrap to cover City Hall

Original post made on Mar 21, 2008

A prelude to the complex public art project known as The Color of Palo Alto will be all over City Hall this week, literally.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, March 20, 2008, 12:41 PM

Comments (28)

Like this comment
Posted by Tom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 21, 2008 at 6:41 am

I love this city. Every time we worry about budget deficits, infrastructure problems, utility rates, ... someone comes up with a new priority.

Wrap City Hall in artwork when utility rates are going to increase by 10%????????? Give me (us) a break.

I may not be the smartest guy in the city, but stuff like this convinces me that, compared to what else is going on here, I'm probably a genius.

Like this comment
Posted by Not so fast
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 21, 2008 at 8:44 am

Didn't someone say that if you mix multiple colors together you end up with brown? So this is what we spent on money on this time. It is not really much, but it continues a pattern of our city council spending money on frivolous/uesless items.
I am sure it will make a nice photo op for the usual suspects.

Like this comment
Posted by Philanthropy?
a resident of Portola Valley
on Mar 21, 2008 at 11:24 am

Mr Espinosa needs to read his own words regarding the distinction between philanthropy and public relations.
If this came out of a philanthropy budget HP needs to do a little homework.

Like this comment
Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 21, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Who dreamed this up - and who authorized payment? "Off with their heads". When the next round of utility bills hit, Palo Alto is going to have a hard time with school and city bond issues. Not everybody in this town is rich.

Like this comment
Posted by Tom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 21, 2008 at 2:34 pm

My mother lives here in Palo Alto. She's 89. She lives on a fixed income, and has no possibility of increasing that.

Her last utility bill was over $400. That hurt. Does she want medical care or electricity and gas to keep her warm?

And now, the "City" decides to "decorate" City Hall.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Like this comment
Posted by Not so fast
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 21, 2008 at 2:41 pm

Tom--you have it wrong the people who created this, do care--they just care about themselves and their own egos and their own little pet projects.
Read the thread about how much it will cost to have our infrastructure problems dealt with. Why so much? Because our city councils over the years have been occupied with vanity projects, photo ops, junkets on our dime to other parts of the country and other self-serving goals.
this "color of Palo alto" is another, albeit relatively cheap, example of ego-driven projects.
We can lay the blame on current and recent past council members (Beecham, Ojakian, Mossar, Burch, Kleinberg, Fazzino, Lytle, Freeman, Cordell, Kishimoto, klein and Morton to name just some of those responsible) for this problem

Like this comment
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 22, 2008 at 8:26 pm

Not So Fast - you seem to monitor the city council - who are the good members on the council? Anyone actually treating city funds responsibly?

Like this comment
Posted by Another Citizen
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 22, 2008 at 9:39 pm

Of course "Not so fast" knows about our city's infrastructure problems, as written by "Mike".

The summation of all the egos on council is less than Mike's.

I have 23 studies to prove it.

Axe the proposed library expansion by at least 50% and we can use the savings to repair some of these desperately needed infrastructure fixes.

Like this comment
Posted by Tim
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 22, 2008 at 9:48 pm

I want to know is how much the "artist" was paid to do this $35,000 funded city project? Can someone tell us.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 22, 2008 at 9:56 pm

TiSend an email to the art commission and ask them. If you go online to the website

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 23, 2008 at 1:05 am

It must be hard for city employees to have to look out through this - not only from having an obstructed view, but as a reminder that some of their friends jobs were cut to save the city money, and also some of their benefits were cut by management to save the city money.

Then we spend so money on environmentally unfriendly art projects like this.

There are many examples of ridiculous wasteful scrap throughout our city, which cost us a fortune. It is neither beautiful nor "Green".

This is not art, this is waste!

I thought this was Earth Month! What a way to show how green we are!

Many of the materials used in "art" contain toxic substances and add unnecessary waste.

Toxic to look at, toxic to our environment, and wasteful.

How can citizens get rid of this art commission?

It seems like the only people who appreciate it are the people who sponsor it, design it, and make a profit by selling it to our city.

Let's convince our art donors and city to make wiser choices.

Like this comment
Posted by rick
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 23, 2008 at 1:19 am

Art is fine but it should be paid for by donations!!

There is a very long list of things the city does need.
Storm drains where there are none.
Fire station in Foothills Park during fire season.
Policing of all parts of Palo Alto, not just North Palo Alto.
More city,close by parks and athletic fields. ]
Lower utility rates for those using small amounts of elect. and gas.

The list can go on and on.

Also how is the city going to recover the $200,000 plus?, they spent on the Amgen bicycle race in downtown P.A. (aprox. $8 per household)

A substantial business liscence fee is one way to recover these questinable expendutres that go on and on.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 23, 2008 at 1:47 am


I am totally in agreement with you on all of the above.
$200,000 for the Amgen race! Amgen should have paid us to allow having it here! All the free advertising they received.

Many citizens attended the memorial for Michael Litfin that morning and were not able to attend the race, or feel up to it afterwards.

Stanford should have paid for a large portion of this race.

Where was this amount posted?

Now I feel really bad for my employee friends in the city!

Like this comment
Posted by not so fast
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 23, 2008 at 7:00 am

there you go again, another citizen. Just because I voted against you. bTW I am not mike

Like this comment
Posted by Not so fast
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 23, 2008 at 12:22 pm

Citizen--too early to speak about new council members--but clearly the city council, as a whole, over the last 6-8 years have been very irresponsible when it comes to dealing with "real" issues facing our city.
They all had/have their own little pet projects and never cease to pat themselves on the back for worthless jobs, they consider well done (i.e. Homer Avenue tunnel) and never tire of self-promoting photo-ops to feed their egos.
But when it comes to dealing with real issues--they avoid "conflict", defer to consultants, commissions, committees and blue/green ribbon panels. look where that has gotten us with regard to our libraries, streets, creek repairs, tax base and on and on.
Maybe going on a "low carbon" diet this year will solve the problems.

Like this comment
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 23, 2008 at 3:59 pm

This city always has to hire consultants. This is costly and delays decision-making. I hadn't noticed this practice so much where I lived previously.

Like this comment
Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 23, 2008 at 6:53 pm

Just how much did this fiasco cost us? Remember that the Utilties Fund is a slush fund for the General Fund. The more we allow this largesse, the more idiotic funding will go on. City Council, do you get the mounting rage?

Like this comment
Posted by Tim
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 23, 2008 at 8:00 pm

We got our moneys worth from the bike race. All hotels were filled. Downtown business (stores, resturants) did great. I'm sure as far as hotel and business taxes, we did great for our $200,000 investment.

Like this comment
Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 23, 2008 at 8:38 pm

From Web Link
“Yates was first invited to propose a public art project for Palo Alto at the opening at a Napa museum of one of his previous art works - a vehicle he separated into individual pieces, then filed by descending weight in the world's tallest file cabinet, as recognized by the Guinness World Book of Records.”

Who was the art connoisseur who invited Yates to Palo Alto after seeing “the world’s tallest file cabinet”?

If Palo Alto wants to get into the Guinness Book of Records, it probably has a good shot at being the country's most wasteful city.

Like this comment
Posted by Rick
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 23, 2008 at 11:35 pm

About the bike race: The $200,000 figure for the bike race was published several times in the local free papers. this was a pledged amount and it may be more if the race cost more. Haven't seen the final cost to the city.

I think there were 50 city employees working overtime to set this up and tear it down. Most may have been police personell who make over $100,000 a year as reg salary. 50%more for overtime.

For the city to recover the $200,000 from visitors 2,000 to 3000 of them would have to spend at least $1000 each or more. This would come from sales tax and hotel tax. Does anyone believe that the bicycle fans would spend this kind of money in Palo Alto to watch a 15 min. race or even in a day or two while here?

Like this comment
Posted by Howard
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 23, 2008 at 11:50 pm

It's not the money that so much irritates me. It's the pretentious, looney banality and ugliness of the project. Like something out of the Denmark Ministry of Culture. Someone above observed that the ultimate mixing of the colors will be brown, as any gradeschooler with a water color set would know. So, the color of Palo Alto is the color of bull excrement -- very appropriate given the project.

Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 24, 2008 at 7:31 am

We drove downtown yesterday, Easter, just to see this so-called 'art work'. This is the ugliest, stupidest thing we have ever seen. What did it cost to put it UP - and what will it cost to take it down -- SOON!!?? Little by little (and picking up speed) Palo Alto is becoming the laughing stock of the Peninsula. Please fix the streets - like Middlefield (pick a block), Hamilton, Waverley, Guinda, and Parkinson where the street is 'peeling off". Enough of this
nonsense. The entire Art Commission should be abolished, its budget cancelled - and that
$180K statue on California Avenue cancelled.

Like this comment
Posted by Tim
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 24, 2008 at 9:07 am


The city did not use 50 extra workers. Police hire back about 15 officers for one day and the Fire hire back only 2 Firefighter/medics. The bike teams and their people were here from Thursday thru Monday and I talked to downtown business that were thrill about the money they made.
The only problem the city had was a few locals on Saturday night at a downtown bar acting like morons.

Streets were closed from 8pm Saturday night and open by 5pm Sunday- less than 24 hrs closed.
I think we did much better than San Jose with the auto race!

People travel from all over the country to watch this race and leave their coin in our town.

Also, what is your problem with a Police officer making $100,000? Couldn't pay me enough to be a cop!

Like this comment
Posted by Me Too
a resident of Meadow Park
on Mar 24, 2008 at 9:11 am

This is one weird piece of whatever. I walk by City Hall daily - I don't even know how to describe it. We are one whacky suburban town - you really have to wonder who runs this place.

Like this comment
Posted by R Wray
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 24, 2008 at 9:46 am

Maybe at last we can now get rid of that junk (garage?) that's been disfiguring the planter in city hall plaza for so long.

Like this comment
Posted by IJustWorkHere
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 24, 2008 at 10:10 am

Geez people take a chill pill. Look at the pluses gained by this project. He took photos of every house, corrected GPS coordinates, and has every building listed by street and address for future reference. If just that portion of the project would of been carried out by anyone else, it would of cost a cool mil easily. Give the guy a break and be proud that someone took interest in your snobby city.

Like this comment
Posted by PA Parent
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 24, 2008 at 2:10 pm

I spent about 20 minutes over at city hall yesterday and ran into the artist, who was there putting on finishing touches.

I encourage everyone to take a look.

It's a fascinating project - both in terms of concept, process and implementation. It combines high tech with community....

Also, the artist shared some of the ways the city is already using the photos and data he provided to support emergency response, planning and building. One final thought....the city has a annual public art budget - this project used a small portion of that budget.

Like this comment
Posted by Phyllis Inghram
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 17, 2008 at 12:22 pm

As a former Palo Alto resident I think this project is something that only Palo Alto could come up with. The rest of the country thinks you are nuts. I haven't quite made up my mind. But I am just nuts enough to buy some of the paint. But why is there a vote for choice of color. I thought the whole project was for the color to be chosen scientificaly. Enough money has been spent. If I still lived there I would be pretty fed up with the whole thing.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Truckee cafe to expand to Menlo Park
By Elena Kadvany | 1 comment | 3,861 views

Attraction to a Person Outside Your Relationship
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,142 views

Senior Scam Stopper Seminar at EPA Senior Center 9/25/17
By Max Greenberg | 0 comments | 121 views


Registration now open

Sign up for the 33rd annual Palo Alto Weekly Moonlight Run and Walk. This family-friendly event which benefits local nonprofits serving kids and families will take place on Friday, Oct. 6 at the Palo Alto Baylands.

Register Here