‘New Residentialists’ Send Message with Four Thousand Votes For Weiss


Mark Weiss received 4,016 votes for 2012 Palo Alto City Council without spending dollar one on his campaign. The result sends a clear message to the pro-developer establishment (Pat Burt, Liz Kniss, Marc Berman) that the average Palo Altan is going to watch all future projects that much more closely.

There is a meeting Thursday evening about Cubberley.

Twenty-seven University (“Arrillaga Office Towers and Theatre”) “potential project” deserves a thorough vetting by concerned citizens.

Stay tuned!

This is Mark Weiss and I resemble this message: TAKE BACK THE TOWN FROM POWERFUL DOWNTOWN AND DEVELOPER SPECIAL INTERESTS. (That’s me above casting my votes for Obama, Weiss, Schmid, Townsend and more).

edit to add: who would have thought that after all something as simple as rock and roll could save us all?

Posted in residentialists, the candidates | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Photo journal from my campaign

A week later I feel enervated having received 4,316 votes. One of five voters picked me for their ballot. So now the question is: how can the New Residentialists organize to get Palo Alto back on track, and what can I do to help.

As I ponder such, I have purged my stupid cell phone of 20 photos from the campaign, of sites and scenes of and around Palo Alto, that shaped or informed my thinking or inspired me over these recent months.

Author Amy Tan spoke at the Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto recently and here models a necklace from her friend Kathi Kamen

A few months before decided I would run, I snapped this shot of Greg and Joyce Schmid, enjoying the music of Joey “Cello Joe” Chang, on Fathers’ Day.

Why did we have to cut this tree at Cogswell Plaza?

Residentialist message on Bryant at Lincoln

The candidates Tim Gray, Veronica Tincher of LOWV, Pat Burt, Liz Kniss and Greg Schmid at forum

Historic Resource commissioner Beth Bunnenberg told me the story of saving this Indian head design in the sidewalk of a former bowling alley turned office space at 735 Emerson

Indian documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan showed a fascinating film about music and civil rights on campus recently, splitting the difference between my cultural activism and civic engagement per se — I’d like to screen his film in June during World Music Day – Fete De La Musique

I warned Palo Alto Weekly photographer Veronica Webber that if she made me look bad I would publish a shot of her titled “Does That Blog Make my ‘But’ Look Big?”

Jonah Matranga’s free concert Election Day was sponsored by Earthwise and NOT the Weiss campaign — a highlight was when Chief Dennis Burns came by and I tried to get him to cite Jonah for selling his cds without a permit


Posted in Downtown parking, influences and inspirations, media coverage, residentialists, the candidates | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Life is like riding a bicycle

edit to add: I knew Ellen Fletcher only slightly; Terry and I spoke to her at a Stanford game, at the bike racks, a year ago fall. The artwork above is by a PAUSD student, on display near Council chambers, I had sampled generally a few weeks prior.

Meanwhile I had wanted to post somewhere herein, although I am thinking of shuttering “Svayambh-PA: Or, the New Residentialist Platform” and going back to posting on politics at “Plastic Alto” something about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Once again, as in 2009, I believe I am the only candidate who referenced the war, or war dead, and the possible link between those expenditures and our supposed budget problems (I claim are exaggerated) here. I have been carrying in my wallet a little clip, from New York Times, if Ellen and her loved ones will excuse the segue (I mentioned the 7,000 American dead at the editorial roundtable with Mario Dianda, Liz Kniss, Greg Schmid, Marc Berman and Patrick Burt):

Names of the Dead

The Department of Defense has identified 2,133 American service members who have died as a part of the Afghan war and related operations. It confirmed the death of the following American recently:

BUTTRY, Brandon L., 19, Pfc., Army; Shenandoah, Iowa; Second Infantry Division.

(According to an article I found out of Nebraska, Private Buttry is survived by his parents and 12 siblings. Services are November 15, in Iowa.)

Posted in history and legacy, influences and inspirations, Public Art, residentialists | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Cubberley As a Regional Arts Center for 300-capacity theatre

I am on my way to the Cubberley meeting at 7:30 tonight. While checking the time online, I became perhaps the last person in the room to learn that Mandy Lowell is also known as Mrs. Charles Munger (the Mungers who gave millions to defeat Prop 30 — I voted for Prop 30 — in Palo Alto you never know which billionaire or multi-millionaire in the elevator you will meet).

Usually when you meet a billionaire you should pretend you don’t know they are billionaires. I remember the time that Nelson Rockefeller came into the newsroom to ask us to cover the drinking games / fundraiser he was hosting at his fraternity and I of course knew who he was — maybe we had met once before, exactly, he sat to lunch with us at the cafeteria, he rowed with one of my hallmates — and he said “Hi, I’m Nelson. I have a story for you..” A good journalist, like the “milennials” in Wolfe’s “I Am Charlotte Simmons” would get their 5w’s and and H and say “How do you spell that? Is that a first name or last name? Nelson what?”
Our class had two Rockefellers, Nelson and his nephew Michael (Rodman’s son, for those keeping score).
I do catch myself telling this story in my head, apropos of who knows what…oh, that I say I was a Rockefeller Center Fellow when I worked for the Times Tribune…
Meanwhile, I met the Recklis on Election Night but only now placed where I had heard that name…
We are all billionaires if you are counting how many cells in the human body…— On Fri, 10/19/12, mark weiss <earwopa@yahoo.com> wrote:

From: mark weiss <earwopa@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: Cubberley as regional performing arts venue –history or future
To: “Diane Reklis” <XXX>
Date: Friday, October 19, 2012, 5:58 PM

it’s cool. you pushed my button (figuratively) and then my fingers kept hitting the buttons/keys on the keyboard, but it can stand alone as the first document, that you formatted. thanks.
mark weiss

From: Diane Reklis <XXXt>
To: ‘mark weiss’ <earwopa@yahoo.com>
Sent: Friday, October 19, 2012 1:05 PM
Subject: RE: Cubberley as regional performing arts venue –history or future

I was attempting a light-hearted reference to PAUSD not being able to predict when and if they will need to reopen a high school at Cubberley and wanting to preserve complete flexibility while they wait (10-20 years) to see how enrollment plays out, not who would own or rent a theatre.  Obviously no one knows when another school will be needed nor what it should look like in the far distant future.
 Your ideas are important and will become part of institutional memory.  I am a great believer in 1-page documents being more likely to actually be read.  I have attached document I created from yesterday’s e-mail.  If you wish to add key points from today’s and send it back to me I will see that it gets into the record.  Feel free to include web link to additional information, but also add a clear title and your name and date to first few lines and keep font size and margins reasonable.
From: mark weiss [mailto:earwopa@yahoo.com]
Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2012 11:17 PM
To: Diane Reklis; ‘Mandy Lowell’; ‘Vician, Tom’; ‘Furman, Sheri’; ‘Crystal, Tom’; ‘Samoff, Rachel’
Cc: Camille Townsend; Gail Price; Sidney Espinosa; Nancy Shepherd; yeh yiaway; paula kirkeby; Bern Beecham; Greg Betts; Tim Gray; Melissa Caswell; Karen Holman
Subject: Re: Cubberley as regional performing arts venue –history or future
My concept is probably more geared to City having the say than PAUSD per se.
On the other hand, my concert series did include four or five clinics in which touring musicians went into middle school and high school music classes to talk about their skills and careers —
is there still being contemplated a use that would blend school function with community center function? I have also wondered whether Cubberley could be an arts magnet school, or whether some of the studio space at Cubberley now could be set aside for high school use — like for a very advanced visual arts student.
Spangenberg has a history of blending school use with community use, for a variety of outcomes, some good some not so good.
There’s an article in today’s paper about “Woodside Community Theatre” group producing “The Sound of Music” at Woodside High.
Not sure how Menlo-Atherton blends community and school with its new space. Or what the plan is for Paly’s space.
Campbell High School auditorium is now a rental hall called Campbell Heritage — I saw Kris Kristofferson there not so long ago, produced by a Seattle-based entity, Square Peg.
I just want the institutional memory to include the fact that there is some potential there, based on the gap in the market in this category.
(I’ve used the same basic points more recently to advocate for arts at 456 University –the city did do a very basic “due diligence” on that concept; I’ve advocated for expanded use of our parks for concerts, beyond the current “Twilight Series” format; actually, the 27 University Avenue office towers proposal is using similar rhetoric about a theatre being a public benefit for an office towers proposal — maybe someone like John Arrillaga would step forward and help optimize Cubberley as an arts center….I subsidized the programming per se in those years, 1994-2001, but am not likely to contribute in any significant way to a capital project there — but again, I thought I’d mention it).
Steve Emslie is familiar with the recent 456 University proposal, your CACC and I believe Arrillaga 27 Uni as well….(assistant City Manager), for how they compare and relate and overlap, although I do not recall him being in the loop during those 1990s’ years with Richard James Leon Kaplan et al.
Mark Weiss

From: Diane Reklis <XXX>
To: ‘Mandy Lowell’ [XXX>; “‘Vician, Tom'” <XXX>; “‘Furman, Sheri'” <XXX>; “‘Crystal, Tom'” <XXX>; “‘Samoff, Rachel'” <XXX>
Cc: ‘mark weiss’ <earwopa@yahoo.com>
Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2012 9:13 PM
Subject: RE: Cubberley as regional performing arts venue –history or future
I have put Mark’s message into word document to become part of our record.  There are certainly many good uses for the space once the District gets a PhD in fortune telling.  Mark, please consider how such a regional center could co-exist with a school on the campus.  (We have asked the current tenants this question too and it will become part of our report.)
From: Mandy Lowell [XXX]
Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2012 3:41 PM
To: Diane Reklis (XXX); Vician, Tom; Furman, Sheri; Crystal, Tom; Samoff, Rachel
Subject: Fwd: cubberley as regional performing arts venue –history or future
———- Forwarded message ———-
From: mark weiss <earwopa@yahoo.com>
Date: Thu, Oct 18, 2012 at 1:02 PM
Subject: cubberley as regional performing arts venue –history or future
Mandy Lowell:
Per your suggestion today after your CCAC meeting I wanted to briefly chime in with mention of an historical use of Cubberley that may influence your use matrix today:
Between 1994 thru 2001, my company Earthwise Productions produced more than 150 concerts at Cubberley Theatre, Cubberley Auditorium (multi-purpose room, what is currently the library) and the amphitheatre (the green). The events featured rock, jazz, folk and classical, from local, regional, national and international acts, from high school groups making their “professional debut”(the Donnas, then known as Ragady Ann) to then-88-year-old blues legend Pinetop Perkins.
The unique regionally-followed concert series was noted in publications such as Palo Alto Weekly, San Jose Metro, San Jose Mercury and San Francisco Chronicle.
There was eventually a draft of an agreement to enact a co-sponsorship between my entity (a sole proprietorship) and the City, authored by Leon Kaplan (director of arts and culture) with input from Richard James, Paul Thiltgen, Del Thorpe and others.
My recollection, further, is that when Council voted in 1995 to allow 456 University (the historic Varsity Theatre) to be converted to retail (for Borders Books, tenant) despite significant community interest in some kind of public-subsidized cultural entity there, Council members – perhaps including Fazzino and Simitian – stated that missing an opportunity there could be atoned for by focusing on how to better use Cubberley to promote or facilitate the arts (something which I don’t think ever actually happened).
I hope the CCAC keeps in mind the potential upside for Cubberley as a regional performing arts venue – perhaps with some kind of public-private partnership – to optimize its use.
It is still true, for example, that for club-size concert acts of the type that typified “The Cubberley Sessions” there is virtually nothing going on between San Francisco and San Jose/Santa Cruz.
I would be only happy to comment further on this history or do further research on what potential arts and cultural uses could be possible going forward with your committee’s important work.
Mark Weiss
President, Earthwise Productions
PO Box 60786
Palo Alto, CA 94306
(650) 305-0701
Posted in history and legacy, Public Art, residentialists | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Weiss statement at ARB hearing on 27 University

I want to thank the Board for its diligence, on this matter, and the preceding item (on Newell Street Bridge , where residents decried the plans for a new bridge design five times bigger in “footprint” than the existing bridge, built in 1911).

I attended the meeting on October 24. I want to highlight something I found interesting from that meeting. I noticed that three of you, or two (Architectural Review) Board members and one Planning Commissioner noted that in terms of the plan presented, (for the Arrillaga Office Towers and Theatre proposal, at 27 University) you would do, professionally speaking “the opposite”, that you would place the theatre closer to University Avenue and the office towers back near the soccer field.

I think this is relevant in that it speaks to something about the aesthetics of the proposal. I think there are concerns over both the product – what is being proposed – and the process – how it is being proposed.

I first heard of this project when it came up at Council in March, 2012, this year. But in the staff report from September it turns out that the project was initiated back in August of 2011, meaning that it has been going on partially in secret for more than a year, in addition to these types of recent hearings and discussions.

What I just learned last week however, speaking with staff after the meeting, and what Bruce (F_, consultant to the City for the project) spoke of just now very briefly – and I believe that is the first time this fact was part of the record – my understanding is that the proponent of this project first approached the City with an idea for an office tower, and it was staff that suggested that the project would go over better with an arts element, as public benefit. So the theatre is something of an afterthought, despite the fact that it was described in the local media as “a theatre project” and then you go down the story and it says office space and in fact it is three times as much office space as theatre.

Another thing – a semantic thing about the proposal, a quibble – is that they call it an “arts and innovation district” but in terms of innovation we are talking not about start-ups, spin-offs, clusters of entrepreneurs, incubators, that are the heart of the Silicon Valley ethos, as distinct from a mature company, with a thousand employees, that the proponent says he wants to lure to 27 University – and that in terms of arts it is really one art – live theatre – and only one potential beneficiary.

What I find interesting, and I am interested in hearing staff or leadership make this more clear as more daylight reaches this project – and I work in the arts – is that at that same time, August, 2011 myself and others were looking at 456 University, the historic and beloved Varsity Theatre, and whether leadership could work with that private owner and find a suitable nationally-recognized concert promoter to take that lease. Staff was given a list and did some outreach to people who run, for example, the Warfield, the Fillmore, Fox Theater in Oakland, Yoshi’s, Freight and Salvage [which completed a $15 million capital campaign, to rebuild and renew in Downtown Berkeley, for concerts, at a time when Palo Alto City Manager Jim Keane was city manager of Berkeley, he is familiar with the project, and instructed staff here to research 456 University]. I am curious for someone to compare the two proposals, in terms of the need for a downtown arts amenity.

Anyhow I am anxious to hear more discussion here and that there is more public input. Thank you board and staff.
(the buzzer rang — today of all day’s I was cognizant of what Shakespeare called “the brief candle”)

Posted in development, media coverage | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Plastic Alto with Mark Weiss

Terry Acebo Davis sent this artistic token of goodwill to the Mark Weiss 2012 Palo Alto City Council campaign. In fact, she entered this collage –comprised of words and phrases mostly out of context clipped from numerous other election season collateral –into an art show at Works Gallery in San Jose.

The illustration was donated by Robert Syrett and Terry Acebo Davis. I guess this was my “October Surprise” or my Halloween Trick/Treat. I also found under my pillow –left by either Gerald Rafshoon or the Tooth Fairy, but not Shepard Fairey — about 100 little buttons with this image. I am running a minimalist campaign and will feel this is hugely satisfying if I can find homes for all the little buttons.

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Julian Davis, Gunn graduate, making waves in SF’s liberal D5 race

Before or after the Giants World Series Victory Parade (!!!), I hope to swing by 609 Haight Street at Steiner, the campaign headquarters of Julian Davis, a 33-year old Gunn and Brown grad running for Supervisor, in District 5 in San Francisco.

I had told his campaign manager Aaron Selverston, and two other Julian Davis campaign staffers, that I would find four hours to do some kind of mundane, nuts-and-bolts campaign work, like handing out brochures.

Its counter-intuitive (and so far, prohibitive) to be both running for office in Palo Alto and volunteering for another campaign in another city. Yet I find I learn from these situations.

I worked briefly for Jeff Adachi, the SF public defender when he ran for Mayor recently, who I heard about from Matt Gonzalez, the former Supervisor, who I know from the visual arts community. I also suggested once that Jeff could give a lecture perhaps at Foothill College on local politics and pension reform.

I worked briefly for the following other candidates, over the years: Tom Campbell, Becky Morgan, Jerry Brown. In 1991, I was campaign manager for Steve Cohen’s write-in candidacy for Mayor of San Francisco. A co-worker on that campaign, Mark Katz, ended up as a speechwriter for Bill Clinton. (The ultra-minimalist campaign consisted of Steve, Mark and I wandering the parking lot at Candlestick Park one summer afternoon and asking Giants fans about their views of the issues, on camera; Steve wore a t-shirt: I RAN FOR MAYOR OF SF AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS T-SHIRT; we weren’t prescient enough to think of singing “Don’t Stop Believing.” Mark and I co-wrote Steve’s campaign slogan: Steve Cohen for Mayor: He’s not a complete joke.)

In contrast to Steve’s campaign for Mayor, I am totally serious about my potential role ongoing in Palo Alto civic affairs, as an insurgent candidate for 2012 Palo Alto City Council race, and our need to rein in developers, please note.

Today’s Palo Alto Daily News endorses four other candidates, and gives scant mention of my campaign but I find a minor victory that my key issues, about reining in developers and the abuse of Planned Community (PC) zoning, got discussed prominently; in fact, the leading candidates were often forced to respond to my statements on these issues and, at least in their statements, claim in various ways some accord. A Jason Green story today, separately, quotes my statement during a recent candidates forum that the proposal for 27 University Avenue, the Arrillaga office towers and theater, is a “complete debacle.”

Good luck to Julian Davis in SF’s D5. I spoke briefly today with his mother Margo Davis who didn’t realize that our current Mayor Yiaway Yeh is the first Gunn graduate to be Mayor of Palo Alto. I presume Yiaway and Julian overlapped at Gunn.

Go, Giants!

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