Who are ‘pro-developer’ among the current council and challengers?

To answer indirectly a question posted at Palo Alto Weekly, as below, look at, as Fred Balin alludes to, Susan Fineberg’s seat on PATC, given to Alex Panelli, who had never been to a meeting, while Susan, prompted by a question from Karen Holman, had said that in her term, and as Vice Chair, she spent 5 to 10 hours per proposal, representing the citizens and as a resource to Council. Then they voted on whether to give her the partial term vacated by Dan Garber, who I believe left to work as a paid consultant to the City on the Arrillaga project. Council split four-four and had to defer to another meeting. The voting went:
For Fineberg: Holman, Yeh, Schmid, Shepherd
For Michael Alcheck, (a 30 year-old real estate lawyer who had never been to a PATC meeting): Burt, Espinosa, Scharff, Klein (although Burt initially voted for Henry Wong, a VC who has never been to a meeting and didn’t even go to the initial interviews)

At the revote, Gail Price was apparently lobbied to join the Pro-Developer Group, and Nancy Shepherd switched sides, so Alcheck was appointed by 6-3 so to speak. Or we should ask Gail if anyone spoke to her or why she voted the way she did.*

Liz Kniss, for example, wrote a County Proclamation for PA developer Jim Baer.

Marc Berman, I met at a candidates forum in 2009, when he was running for Assembly, and he seems like a good guy; I question his experience base at his age. I objected to the editorial above merely on the grounds of lumping him in with Kniss’ experience — let’s see what Marc will say and do in the election. I wish him well.

On the current council I call Scharff, Burt, Klein, Shepherd and sadly Sid “pro-developer”.
I call Holman, Price, Schmid and Yeh “quasi-residentialists”; this was the split when Scharff beat out Schmid for Vice Mayor.

Now I’m definitely running and will spent the next 7 days gathering signatures to qualify for the ballot.

And for what its worth going in, I would say I strongly support Greg Schmid for Council as an incumbent (and for our next Mayor, frankly) and urge against voting for Liz Kniss or Pat Burt. As fate would have it, I ran into Greg Scharff while collecting my signatures and said “Moreover, I hope we find a project we can work on together someday and really knock the ball out of the park” and he said “How about the Arrillaga Project?” so I will have to talk to him and see if I am missing something that would offset my initial strong negative reaction to it; I spoke against it recently at Parks and Recs (who are suggesting that the building at 27 Uni could fit at the golf course).

Scharff signed my petition which, if I turn in 25 or more signatures, merely qualifies me for the ballot. It is not an endorsement nor requires him to vote for me. If I gather 100 signatures, I would be refunded the $25 filing fee.

* my understanding is that Council members can and do talk to each other about their votes, and may do so as long as they do not violate the Brown Act by doing so in groups of three or more. I am not implying any wrongdoing or violation of such in the matter regarding Michael Alcheck. Gail and I have enjoyed a friendship over these three years that I have been following local policy so closely; when I ran for office in 2009, she co-hosted an art show at Smith-Andersen that I considered by “kick-off” event. I’d say I am disappointed she did not support Susan Fineberg and am quite surprised, and yeah, totally curious if someone asked her to vote the way she did, but doubt I will go there with her.

I would say generally I would rather talk about the issues and trends and what is unique about my views on things and not spend time looking at the nitty gritty of politicking or pros and cons of other candidates. Kniss and Burt, based on being incumbents or current office holders, I feel could deserve some scrutiny and harsh words, as per Sullivan v. New York Times.

edit to add: council can talk to up to three others one at a time and total, like to lobby for a particular vote for commission, by the Brown Act.


About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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