Town Square

Finances, infrastructure and the city's future

Original post made on Oct 4, 2007

Just like two years ago, the 2007 slate of candidates for Palo Alto City Council includes an attorney, a CPA, a management consultant and an advocate for the homeless. But this year a registered nurse, several high-tech executives (one retired) and a real-estate agent are also in the running.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, October 3, 2007, 12:00 AM


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Posted by GSB
a resident of Mountain View
on Oct 4, 2007 at 3:44 pm

Only in reading the article itself that I discovered that the first 5 candidates featured were in alphabetical order. Unfortunately, in looking at the cover of the newspaper, the absense of any of the women running is a bit disturbing. I wish another method of choosing had been done to stagger the women between the two interviewing pools.

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Posted by Huh?
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 4, 2007 at 3:59 pm

GSB - why is that? A women needs a leg up, so she can't just take her alphabetical place in line?

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Posted by Long time resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 4, 2007 at 10:02 pm

Here is what I am looking for in canidates:

No ties to big businesses and high density developers. We have and have had enough of that. Even though many or most of the council and past councils are well educated, buight and have much productive experience the city in many ways in in shambles, cahouse (sp?)and it must be because they just can't work together for the good of the entire city. They do work for what is best,good for their own neighborhood. i.e. A $5,000,000 plus tunnel under the railroad tracks, a $12,000,000 to $20,000,000 little park in the SOFA neighborhood,but no plans for new parks for the rest of the city. Also fiber to the home at about $1,000,000 with no plans for how to expand it beyound the small area it was installed.

More retail, especially in S.Palo Alto. Converting Alma Plaza,to primarly housing was or is seen as a hostile act toward the neighborhood this retail area served. Telling the people in S.Palo Alto that they "can just go to Mountain View to shop" was not a friendly statement.

An ideal (or most ideal available) space for several Auto Dealerships was rezoned to housing, etc.

A hotel site was rezoned to super high density housing.

A scoccer field was placed where where a hotel, police station, moderate cost housing for the near-by jobs or retail could have gone

The problems is which canidates will takle the tough issues that are the "Elephant "in the room.

CO2 production by the commuters is a big one.
Housing on Stanford land for the workers on Stanford land is another one.
A parcel tax on the big commercial buildings, based on sq.ft. is another idea that the corporate people will fight.

Dealing with the Flood Zone or area that gets flooded periodically is possibly a zoning, new code issue that should be addressed to protect the city,people from big ,threatened lawsuits.

I hope I don't sound discouraged, or negative about what has and will continue to happen unless things change in this city.

More comments later ,Thanks

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Posted by Pollster
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 4, 2007 at 11:49 pm

It seems a fairly wide-ranging group of people, but the "locked-in" candidates are all but voted in. Money and endorsements will see Espinosa, Dykwel, Burt, and Yeh voted in.

That's a diverse enough bunch,, and they're all committed to building infrastructure. they do have some differences on development, but all appear to be measured in that concern.

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Posted by no to outsiders
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Oct 6, 2007 at 10:03 pm


What I don't like about candidate Yeh is that less than 25% of the money she has raised has come from Palo Altans from what I read in the Weekly. I am leary of people whose campaign financing comes from outside of the city. I most likely will not vote for such a person.

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Posted by vote watcher
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2007 at 11:54 am

It is true that the candidates you indicated have the money and the endorsements but are they really the right candidates for Palo Alto? Unfortunately a vast majority of the residents do not read about the issues and compare between the candidates. Only 150 people attended the League of Women Voters forums, and some of the questions were brain dead type. No one asked specific questions that required a Yes or No answer.

I think we deserve the council members we get, they do not represent the majority, simply because the majority do not want to spend the time to decide, so they let the endorsements decide for them.

By the way, Yiaway is a male and not a female.

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Posted by Pollster
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Oct 7, 2007 at 12:11 pm

vote watcher, Palo Alto's political culture mitigate against making politics more inviting here - in a way keeps involvement down. That said, this is pretty much the case in most municipalities.

Here, we have a "quiet" demeanor to politics; this is quite common in upper-middle-class communities. But again, municipal elections are too often very staid affairs.

Our political structure is consensus driven; it's not "leader" driven. Thus, one sees and hears pretty much the same things from most candidates, with slight variations.

To your question: I would disagree that the folks running don't resonate with Palo Altans. We all have ideas about what the majority of Palo Altans want. My bias is that most of us want to be able to continue current service levels, and create a city that is growing in a measured way, and sustainable (including its institutions) into the future.

The four candidates I mentioned above, combinhed with who is currently on Council, seem to me to create the best combination of persons who can thrive in a *focused*, consensus-driven environment.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2007 at 12:26 pm

It is good to have specific places to see all the candidates, but I really appreciate the candidates who come out into the community and actually meet the voters. I was at my son's ayso soccer pictures today and Claude Ezran (granted running for school board, but the principle is the same) was there in his vote for Claude t shirt, handing out information and speaking to people. This is the type of candidate I like to see, someone who is not afraid of getting into conversations with people and meeting people where they are at, not waiting for them to come to him. I am sure he spoke with many people who were previously unaware of who he was, but now are interested enough to find out more and perhaps vote for him. Good for you Claude.

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Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 7, 2007 at 4:13 pm

Pollster, you say, “most of us want to be able to continue current service levels, and create a city that is growing in a measured way, and sustainable (including its institutions) into the future.”

I think our city is going downhill fast. Infrastructure is crumbling and in spite of a staff larger than most nearby cities, I wouldn’t say services are great.

As for “a *focused*, consensus-driven environment,” there’s not much of a focus when every new mayor sets his/her priorities when taking office. We have too much consensus and not enough discussion and analysis.

Please see comments at: Web Link

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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 8, 2007 at 12:01 pm

pat, Palo Alto maintains the highest service levels - in terms of number of services - than any of our municipal neighbors. Many of us take these services for granted.

Most of the people I know in Palo Alto like it here, and are mostly pleased with city services.

Yes, there are some challenges inPalo Alto, but these challenges will be overcome with the right leadership, and a more concerted effort to engage our citizenry.

I believe we have to frame our political challnges in terms of opportunity.

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Posted by Chris
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 8, 2007 at 12:23 pm

We have a great opportunity to guide the city in a new direction with the upcoming bond elections.

By turning down the library and police bonds, we'll be telling the city establishment that they have to learn to spend our generous city revenues more responsibly, that they'll have to make choices and prioritize when budgeting, and that they'll have to start saying no to some of the regular special interest pleaders in town.

Mike is right. Our challenges are not insurmountable as long as we say "no more business as usual".

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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 8, 2007 at 1:42 pm

Chris, nice spin, but no cigar.

See you at the polls, where an 80-85% MAJORITY will pass the upcoming bonds (all of them) and thus set the stage for Palo Alto's sustainable future.

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Posted by Chris
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 8, 2007 at 1:46 pm

We'll never have a sustainable future as long as the establishment thinks they can come running to us for more money when their profligacy gets them into trouble.

And I don't smoke - cigars or otherwise. I think the Council made them illegal in town when they should have been focusing on our finances.

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Posted by Benjamin
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 8, 2007 at 2:32 pm

"the establishment"??

I thought terms like that went out in the 60's.

Blaming people for our problems really gets old

I'm with Mike, leys more forward