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Cory Wolbach jumps into Palo Alto's council race

Original post made on Aug 4, 2014

Seeking to bring a fresh voice to Palo Alto's simmering debate over growth and development, Sen. Jerry Hill's staff member Cory Wolbach announced Monday that he is entering the crowded race for City Council.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, August 4, 2014, 11:25 AM

Comments (37)

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Posted by NO
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 4, 2014 at 11:30 am

[Post removed.]


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Posted by Michelle C.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 4, 2014 at 11:42 am

Finally, a candidate I can stand behind. Mr. Wolbach you have my support and I wish you a successful campaign. We could use some younger minds getting involved in the local politics here. Its so stale with all the old farts thinking they have all the answers.


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Posted by Long Time Resident
a resident of University South
on Aug 4, 2014 at 11:43 am

Cory looks like a great candidate for the city council. He seems to strike the right balance between understanding the challenges we face as a popular city in a growing region, while focusing on the future and not wanting to take Palo Alto back to 1950 like a lot of the other no-change challengers that have announced this year. I definitely won't be supporting any of those candidates.
[Portion removed.]


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Posted by Resident
a resident of University South
on Aug 4, 2014 at 11:44 am

Congratulations Cory! We need more young people getting involved in their communities and Cory seems to have a solid record of public service. Just judging from the press release, he also seems to be more open-minded as to the issues facing Palo Alto than some other candidates.


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Posted by Voter
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Aug 4, 2014 at 11:51 am

Looks to me like this is the guy to vote for if you're happy with the way things have gone under this current, pro development, "the building is the benefit" council. I personally am not, and will be voting for the residentialists.


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Posted by Go Cory
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Aug 4, 2014 at 11:56 am

Cory will bring a much needed perspective change to the council when elected. He represents a more inclusive viewpoint than some of the isolationist candidates on the current roster. He's been a great addition to a number of local organizations and concerns. His experience will serve Palo Alto well.


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Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Aug 4, 2014 at 11:58 am

Always happy to have smart people who understand the situation in today's world and has an appreciation as to what is achievable VS feel good statements which go nowhere good.


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Posted by SOFA Native
a resident of Addison School
on Aug 4, 2014 at 12:10 pm

So pleased that Cory Wolbach has put his hat in the ring. I hope his candidacy will bring some balance and imagination to the discourse which has been very strident and one-sided. We all want the same things -- a vibrant, safe, healthy, beautiful and well-functioning city. Palo Alto WILL grow and change, the question is HOW we balance this growth with our other values. I vote for more (and better) transportation options, more diverse housing and, a thoughtful, engaged, affordable and healthy community.


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Posted by Wondering?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 4, 2014 at 12:24 pm

> Wolbach has already received a list of endorsements for
> his nascent campaign from former Palo Alto council
> members and school trustees, including Betsy Bechtel,
> LaDoris Cordell, Sid Espinosa, Vic Ojakian,
> Diane Reklis, Carolyn Tucher and Lanie Wheeler.

Hard to believe that this guy won't be using his Hill-staffer contacts to shove Democratic party politics down the throats of Palo Altans. He certainly seems to demonstrate that thrust via his choice of endorsees—some of the worst Council Members on record. Moreover—Council Members who have voted, over the years, to approve policies that have led to this problem of over-development with which we find ourselves facing now.

And what about all of these school board endorsements? The PAUSD is an independent governmental agency. Board of Education members might have some input about how growth might impact the schools—although it's hard to find one current Board member who seems to be able to articulate a coherent thought about that mater. Otherwise, former PAUSD BoT members have nothing meaningful to say about city of Palo Alto government.

Got to wonder why Mr. Wolbach has decided to jump into this election? Has he ever been involved in local politics before? Who has suggested that being on the Council will help his political career should he decide he wants to run for the State Legislature later on?

Also got to wonder what other items care on his agenda? Gerry Hill is a big Union supporter. So, will Mr. Wolbach be bought by the Unions, like most of the Legislature is? Can't wait to see who his financial backers are!

So far, it's not clear what makes him think he is qualified to make laws that affect the lives of Palo Altans, or the billions of dollars of private property owned by Palo Altans. This fellow seems far too close to the Democratic Party machine (pro-illegal immigration, HSR, and increased taxes and bigger government, opposition to right-to-work laws, etc.) to ever be trusted not to insert party politics into every thing he touches.
[Portion removed.]


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Posted by Young Professional
a resident of The Greenhouse
on Aug 4, 2014 at 12:25 pm

As a young professional who grew up in Palo Alto and would like to someday raise a family here, I'm glad to see a younger candidate looking to strike a balance between maintaining Palo Alto's character with a need to increase the housing supply. Palo Alto will suffer as long as teachers, doctors, lawyers, professors, and even technology professionals can't afford to live here. Cory is the kind of consensus builder that Palo Alto needs.


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Posted by resident
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 4, 2014 at 12:27 pm

From reading this article, all I came away with is that Cory is unwilling to state definitely what his positions are - a very bad signal. I don't see any Cory even beginning to understand what the residents viewpoints are - instead his focus is "regional" issues.

Since he is so tied in with the Democratic Party establishment, it means supporting unions, supporting all other causes at the cost of using public money.

In lieu of that, I can only assume he will be similar to Marc Berman (pro-develoment), or Jerry Hill (pro High Speed Rail). I don't think what Palo Alto needs is another person looking to move himself up the political ladder at the resident's expense. So I won't be voting for Cory.


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Posted by Development interests
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 4, 2014 at 1:12 pm

His endorsements are a Who's Who of pro-development people. Wheeler is on the Chamber of Commerce board.
Ojakian never met a development he didn't vote for. Ditto Espinosa. Espinosa even liked the 27 University monster plan (both represented Hewlett Packard's interests when they were on the council).

Endorsements: Betsy Bechtel, LaDoris Cordell, Sid Espinosa, Vic Ojakian, Diane Reklis, Carolyn Tucher and Lanie Wheeler.


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Posted by Who are the old farts?
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 4, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Michelle C.

"We could use some younger minds getting involved in the local politics here. Its so stale with all the old farts thinking they have all the answers."

Wolbach's platform sounds exactly like Steve Levy's blog. Hmmm.

Wolbach, obviously has deep political je ne sai quoi. Old people vs young people. Wow, can't get any more group segmented than that. It's them against us, us against them, our future. I look forward to hearing how he injects the environmental issues into the conversation. RIght out of the ABAG playbook.

With all the talk, how about some numbers? For example, if the plan is to create college dorm housing for young workers and immobile living for old people, why does it all have to be downtown?


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Posted by Development Wary
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 4, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Like many Palo Altans I am concerned about excessive development too and ineffective proposals for development like the senior housing of Measure D. But that's the thing--it isn't a matter of whether we build new projects but how. If we want Palo Alto to be a place where everyone is welcome, we need to build smart or not build at all. Wolbach seems to get that. He seems like a good middle-ground that everyone can get behind. I'll have to do more research on him and other candidates, but based on what's written here, he's got my vote.


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Posted by Christy
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 4, 2014 at 1:30 pm

Cory sounds like he has a lot of innovative ideas that will help us overcome a lot of challenges we are facing. Sounds like an independent candidate that I will be voting for!


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Posted by Open Minded
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 4, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Really nice to see Cory stepping into the race! Glad to hear him maintaining an open mind during the election season and hope he encourages other candidates and residents to consider a variety of perspective on these important issues


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Posted by Yay Cory
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 4, 2014 at 1:32 pm

Way to go Cory! It's nice to see that there's someone speaking for smarter growth. Whether we like it or not, Palo Alto is growing and will very likely continue to do so. Having a fresh, younger face in the council is what this city needs! You've got my vote.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Jordan
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 4, 2014 at 1:37 pm

I was wondering when the unions would run somebody for council, and here he is. If he's associated with Jerry Hill of San Mateo, he's the union's candidate. A big round of raises for everybody at city hall!

Bet he's also for high-speed rail, just like is boss.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Who are the old farts?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 4, 2014 at 1:37 pm

Development wary,

"we need to build smart or not build at all"

The risk of building not smart is very high unfortunately, even higher risk is the risk of building ugly. Developers won't hire the best or most talented architects. We are already stuck with eye sores which can be built within current zoning, more leeway is yuk.

I will probably vote to not build at all. This is a small town, it's not like we're supposed to be a runner up to Tokyo.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 4, 2014 at 2:16 pm

This has always been a small town. Trying to turn it into the new Manhattan can result only in destroying it. We need to decide that Palo Alto has been grossly overdeveloped and cannot be developed anymore, period. Palo Alto will never be an affordable city, that train had pretty much left the station with the creation of Oregon Expressway. It sounds cruel, but those who can't afford to live in a place where small houses sell for two million dollars should look for other places to live. Palo Alto is no more affordable to the average home buyer than a Ferrari is to the average car buyer, and we certainly don't need anymore office buildings.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Jordan
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 4, 2014 at 2:28 pm

What has he done in the Palo Alto community? Has he served on any boards or commissions? None. Has he been a volunteer? Not that he talks about.

One more question -- Jerry Hill is a supporter of ABAG and its housing quotas for every city. If Cory, as a council member, takes a hard line with ABAG against these quotas, does he lose his job with Hill? [Portion removed.]


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by SWE
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 4, 2014 at 3:08 pm

SWE is a registered user.

Increasing housing for everyone is a lovely sentiment. We heard a lot about increasing housing for seniors during the Maybell debates, then we found out afterwards that seniors make up a disproportionate percentage of our demographic, almost twice as in other California cities. And there have been empty senior BMR units all along because of a focus on building rather than doing careful market studies and best meeting the need that exists.

Young people have always had a tough row to hoe in this area. It's the nature of supply and demand. Those of us who live in homes and aren't Zuckerberg paid big dues: lived in small shared apartments in Sunnyvale or Milpitas while working in high tech companies, bought homes in broken down neighborhoods and fixed them up on our own, then moved up when we could. It takes time and a willingness to live in less than ideal conditions.

The trouble today when I hear people say they want to increase the housing supply is that they want nice digs they can afford where they want them. But building so much more in a desirable place is only going to compromise quality of life for the people living there already, straining resources, and it's not going to create anything affordable because new housing stock is just so, so expensive here. It ends up increasing average rents and the accelerating gentrification, while also straining infrastructure and the existing tax base.

Advances in energy and transportation will change the equation, but bad land use will haunt us for decades and decades. We're in the middle of an unprecedented drought headed into a century of global warming. Maybe the answer is that better-distributed population is healthier for our people and our national security and resources.

I like Corey, and I think in a different time, he might be a good Councilmember. But if he's trying to increase housing of any kind right now (except for people with disabilities, where we have a real problem), he's the wrong person at the wrong time. It will be too easy for special interests to use him, the way our developer-centric Council used PAHC, to continue down this path of negative overdevelopment and impacts. Pushing back against some of the overdevelopment will take a lot of effort.

Corey, I wish you luck. I will listen carefully during this season, because I think you deserve that. But given the above, I will probably not be voting for you now. Hopefully if we get a big picture handle on traffic circulation, safety, and restoring a focus on civic life and needs from the constant pressure of overdevelopment, then I hope you will please run again.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 4, 2014 at 5:43 pm

Crescent Park Dad is a registered user.

Didn't Jerry Hill vote yes to fund HSR?

Guilt by association...

Sorry - will not get my vote.


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Posted by N.A.
a resident of another community
on Aug 4, 2014 at 5:45 pm

N.A. is a registered user.

This is wonderful news for Palo Alto. Mr. Wolbach most certainly possesses the dedication, integrity, political prowess, and knowledge to be on the Council. Anyone who has met him would attest to that and more.

For those skeptical about Mr. Wolbach's experience, he has been heavily involved in the community since moving back from San Diego, (where he earned a BA in Political Science at UCSD.) In fact, Cory Wolbach is a well-known name in the young political scene in the Bay. He has stood out as a young political leader and the president of The Peninsula Young Democrats.

I urge everyone to actually read more about Mr. Wolbach's goals for the city and to reach out to him personally before making a judgement call.

Cory exemplifies the fresh and well-informed perspective that the City needs. His exceptional devotion to his hometown, coupled with his excellent leadership skills make him THE candidate to vote for in the 2014 Palo Alto City Council elections! It is due time we give the younger generation a chance.

All the best to Mr. Wolbach.


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Posted by SWE
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 4, 2014 at 6:07 pm

SWE is a registered user.

@N.A.
Respectfully, if this were for any higher office, I would agree with you. Not for City Council, at this time.


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Posted by Eric Rosenblum
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 4, 2014 at 8:08 pm

Eric Rosenblum is a registered user.

Hooray. .. Cory sounds very sensible and measured in his views. Best of luck to him!


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Posted by Lynn Huidekoper, RN
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 4, 2014 at 8:30 pm

Lynn Huidekoper, RN is a registered user.

I have known Cory for several years as he's a member of my club, the (PDC) Peninsula Democratic Coalition, and he formed the PYD, for young Democrats 35 and under.
I know him to be very dedicated to listening to everyone's views on issues. He's bright, energetic and has recruited many young folks into the PYD. They work on social justice projects among others. They work on political campaigns for candidates who are progressive and who care about everyone rich or poor. They register voters esp.encouraging young people to register and vote.

I am amazed at how many negative-minded folks there are making comments. And assuming that he's pushing Jerry(spelled with a "J")Hill's agenda. That shows a lot of ignorance and prejudice.

I live in Menlo Park so can't vote for Cory but certainly would if I lived in PA. I have been involved with the City Council ever since the ban against vehicle dwellers who live in Palo Alto was enacted a year ago. I have seen some of the City Council members show a very elitist, condescending attitude. Kicking the poor out of one of the most affluents cities in the US, with 8 billionaires, is appalling. PA was recently voted as the "snobbiest" city in the US. I have seen that up close and personal.
We need young people to represent them as Cory has mentioned. They can't afford to live here. And to say that seniors and the poor should live elsewhere is mean and again prejudiced. Most of these folks are PA residents that the Council is supposed to help and protect and provide services for.They pay taxes to get those services.


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Posted by JulesCB
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 4, 2014 at 8:39 pm

JulesCB is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


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Posted by JulesCB
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 4, 2014 at 10:47 pm

JulesCB is a registered user.

Dear Wondering?,

I don't understand your points you made about Cory's involvement in local politics, possible union support, Palo Altan private property rights, and the Democratic Party's illegal immigration policy. Please enlighten me via phone or a meeting.

Sincerely,

Jules


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Posted by Paly Alum
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 4, 2014 at 11:13 pm

Paly Alum is a registered user.

This candidate might have the political experience, but has not lived in Palo Alto long enough to be able to contribute effectively. In addition, his belief that young people and seniors have a right to live in Palo Alto is ignorant. No one has a "right" to live in Palo Alto. Another tired argument which seeks to mix oil and water, yet the question was answered long ago and it's simply a ploy to gain votes from those specified.

Wouldn't it be nice if everyone in America could afford to live in Palo Alto? Wants and needs are two different words. Sounds like a kid whining.


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Posted by JulesCB
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 4, 2014 at 11:21 pm

JulesCB is a registered user.

Paly Alum,

I don't understand your comments, either. Cory has lived in Palo Alto for most of his life- is that not long enough? If he shouldn't court youth and seniors, then which groups should he recruit?

Please contact me by phone or schedule a meeting with to explain your thoughts.

Thanks,

Jules


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Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 5, 2014 at 12:00 am

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

I met Cory tonite at Council -- we signed each other's petition -- and I welcome him into the race and dialogue about how to get Palo Alto back on track.

I believe we are the only two PAUSD graduates in the race, and both of us went to Gunn.


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Posted by SWE
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 5, 2014 at 1:10 am

SWE is a registered user.

"PA was recently voted as the "snobbiest" city in the US. I have seen that up close and personal.
We need young people to represent them as Cory has mentioned. They can't afford to live here. And to say that seniors and the poor should live elsewhere is mean and again prejudiced. "

I believe PalyAlum is simply pointing out the soundbite nature of such a comment that demonstrates a poor understanding of either the issues or the town, or both. (Nerdy Palo Alto, snobby? I think they meant slobby.) Saying that you can't pack all 300 million residents of the US in Palo Alto, nor is it wise to do so, is not the same as saying that seniors and the poor should live elsewhere. In fact, seniors represent a larger share of Palo Altans by twice the norm in California. Clearly, no one is telling them to live elsewhere. In fact, in many European cities, the seniors feel a strong social contract to move and/or downsize in order to allow young families to move into nicer places to raise their families.

Just as the City Council got creamed in the Measure D election for relying on a soundbitish tack that didn't really deal with the issues at hand, if Corey continues to talk about Measure D and development in that relatively naive way, he's going to come across like a City Council copy pretender to the increasingly energized, informed, and connected residentialist electorate.


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Posted by Bru
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 5, 2014 at 6:58 am

Bru is a registered user.

Why is it necessary to mention that this candidate is the youngest candidate? I find that subtly ageist and irrelevant? If this is a potential employee's job application you would not be able to take age into account.


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Posted by wmartin46
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 5, 2014 at 9:51 am

wmartin46 is a registered user.

> I have known Cory for several years as he's a member
> of my club, the (PDC) Peninsula Democratic Coalition,
> and he formed the PYD, for young Democrats 35 and under.

And what does this have to do with qualifications for a City Council member in Palo Alto?

Over the next eight years—the City will likely spend over $1.5B in General Fund expenditures. If capital projects are engaged that include bonds—then the number could easily jump to $2B. What experience does this candidate have in budgeting, or the prudence use of public funds? Anyone can rubber stamp the proposals put on the table, but how many can actually dig into the details and find flaws in the proposals before the projects are executed and the flaws reveal themselves?

The market value of the property in Palo Alto is likely in the $40B to $60B range. The City has a lot of power that can be used to help the property owners increase the value of their property, or it can engage in policies that can diminish the value of their properties. As it turns out, Council Members are immune from law suits (generally) that result from their decisions that end up harming people. For this reason—electing people who have some experience outside the bubbles of government, and the education industry, would be in the interest of those who expect government to be more of a servant, than a master.

Local government should be about getting the pot holes fixed, and trying to find ways to reduce the cost of government—not "thinking globally", or being "world leaders" in this, that or the other. We have a number of problems facing us in the coming years. We have yet to put this City Government on a full life-cycle maintenance system, so that we can predict the rebuild/refurbishment costs of the City and develop funding mechanisms that allow more of the growing general fund to be used—rather than selling bonds that increase the costs of government greatly.

Local government should be boring—since it should be involved in keeping the quality-of-life at an optimal level—not seeking photo-ops or slinging sound-bytes into the air that produce nothing meaningful.

People have a right to be negative about candidates that have little experience in local government, and/or who espouse an agenda that seems more destabilizing to our collective welfare, than not


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Posted by Kerry55
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 5, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Kerry55 is a registered user.

Great comments martin, boscoli and Jordan. I don't think this is the election to support a candidate who has no experience in Palo Alto politics. This is a critical juncture in the future of Palo Alto. The sound bites sound good .......... from the Weekly article:
. There is a "missing voice" in the growth discussion. While many talk about the negative impacts of new development, there has been far less discussion of the city's housing challenges, particularly when it comes to seniors and young people.

Palo Alto is a built out City, unless you build up. Of course young people and seniors want to live here. We have been dealing with this for a very long time. Palo Alto will never be able to meet or come close to the housing demands placed on it. For me, more housing means R1 families and neighborhoods will take the brunt of traffic, overcrowded schools, no parking, more pollution and lesser standard of quality of life.
Mr. Wolbach also wants to work for Regional Cooperation to deal with airport noise, traffic and climate change. Ok, maybe airport noise and climate change, but traffic is much more complicated to lump into Regional Cooperation. This can be attributed directly to pro-development policies, inept Planning Dept. and Council Members that have not been able to say NO to any large scale development (Arrillaga Towers is an anomaly) . Regional Cooperation seems to be a code word for ABAG, even if nobody will say it because it's campaign season and supporting ABAG policies/numbers will put them in the pro-devlopment camp.
So finally, it's interesting that Betsy Bechtel,
> LaDoris Cordell, Sid Espinosa, Vic Ojakian,
> Diane Reklis, Carolyn Tucher and Lanie Wheeler are supporting Mr. Wolbach. I'm sure he will get other endorsements, just like Measure D, but we have seen this before and are not going to get the wool pulled over our eyes again.
I don't want to seem mean-spirited, and Mr. Wolbach seems like a nice person, but this is not the election to let a novice get on the Council


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Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 25, 2014 at 11:25 am

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

We also, I believe, had the same teacher, Olive Borgsteadt, me in 1974 and he much later.
He grew up a few doors down from my teammate Kent Lockhart, or his house at least, the Marlinda Fitzgerald-designed garden on Greer, around the corner from Seale Park, Stockton Park in our day, or De Anza School. Another Gunn guy, from my era but not Cory's, Duane Anderson, shot an indie film recently at Seale, including a man dancing on top of the turtle sculpture on the playground.

Anyhoo, I was impressed, at Cory's launch party, the turnout of insiders, chiefly his boss Jerry Hill. But I wonder if 40 or so current leaders are representative of what is the will of the people.

This is a great time for Cory to run. Go, Titans!


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