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Palo Alto sees signs of hope in infrastructure poll

Original post made on Jun 7, 2013

For Palo Alto officials, the old line, "No good deed goes unpunished," rings particularly true these days. A survey that the City Council discussed Thursday indicates that city residents think the city is doing such a good job maintaining infrastructure that it doesn't really need the voters' help.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, June 6, 2013, 9:57 PM

Comments (11)

Posted by Kris, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 7, 2013 at 11:36 am

The politicans are just looking for more tax money to fund their pensions.

Posted by Marie, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 7, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Marie is a registered user.

As I stated when surveyed, I will support a bond issue for a new public safety building only if it is NOT built as part of the Jay Paul development. I support no upzoning for offices until we are in compliance with ABAG housing ratios (which may be never)! Palo Alto is built out unless we build up. Most of us don't want that. We do want a 50 ft limit to building height. We do want adequate parking. We don't want new houses without driveways for parking.

We have enough offices. We need more retail and housing like the SOFA development and less like Arbor Real, Alma Plaza and the latest proposal for Maybell. If the Maybell development was downsized to five houses with driveways, sidewalks, bike lanes and minimal backyards plus a smaller senior development, there would be far more support for the project.

Maybe we need an ordinance that requires any development of a certain size that does not comply with current zoning and the city's master plan, to be submitted to the voters.

Posted by lazlo, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 7, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Good Grief! Now an outside contractor is telling city officials that they need to educate city residents why we should appove bond measures and raise taxes because the city is doing such a great job. How much of resident tax money was given to Fairbank, Maslin, Mauslin, Metz, and Associates for this dysfunctional survey. Guess if you spend enough you get the answers you want. When is the last time the City Manager met with the public or City Council members actually went out and spoke with residents on matters concerning city issues.What a pity.

Posted by Silly, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 7, 2013 at 3:23 pm

The city also hired some pollster who called with the world's longest, dumbest questionnaire about how they could spin the bond issue so it would pass. It was repetitive and the pollsters couldn't just accept a NO or Yes answer; they were required to read you the whole thing which took about 45 minutes.

So it's highly likely people polled got disgusted and said, "Yea, things are just ducky. Whatever. No need to do more."

Posted by Bob , a resident of Community Center
on Jun 7, 2013 at 3:26 pm

My mom lived here 'forever' and was never been surveyed about anything. I've been here a long time and never ever got a survey. These surveys can be very selective depending how the city wants the opinions to go. Money wasted. Let the Weekly do it via the Friday paper or via its e-mail base. More people will be contacted, and the roster is not pre-determined.

Posted by boscoli, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 8, 2013 at 6:25 am

As long as we keep increasing the population of an essentially small town and try to turn it into a megalopolis in an area totally unsuited for it, we will have an ever increasing need to repair an ever increasingly deteriorating infrastructure.

Palo Alto has been grossly overdeveloped and over populated, and until we admit and and reverse action, I will not support and infrastructure bond measure.

Posted by polls are sales jobs, a resident of Community Center
on Jun 8, 2013 at 10:40 am


"Palo Alto has been grossly overdeveloped and over populated, and until we admit and and reverse action, I will not support and infrastructure bond measure."



"Maybe we need an ordinance that requires any development of a certain size that does not comply with current zoning and the city's master plan, to be submitted to the voters."

YES, it's time to altogether ban developments of certain sizes. We otherwise have a Council that nobody trusts flex zoning us over, and they cannot help themselves.

Posted by Stan, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 8, 2013 at 11:14 pm

Honestly, can city staff do anything without a poll, consultant, or other outside intervention? I have no idea what the polling co cost the city, probably a hefty 6 figure sum, maybe even similar to the cost of a city wide ballot initiative. The result; polling of less than 1% of the city population to steer future spending of 10's or hundreds of millions of dollars? Sorry, this is a really lame way to govern.

Posted by paly parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 9, 2013 at 9:53 am

Just curious why the City doesn't put a SurveyMonkey survey on their website and open it to all residents rather than "surveying" a hand-picked few.

I personally won't vote for an infrastructure bond until we stop spending money on non-essentials. Our "programs" such as Enjoy camps, Children's Theater, Rinconada Pool, etc. should be self funded supplemented by donations. Don't even get me started on our 5 libraries which are now 3 small and 2 smaller temporary buildings.

All of the current "bump" in revenues should be used for infrastructure. Once we are caught up, then we can be frivolous. Kind of like repairing your roof on your house before you go on a vacation.

Posted by @resident2013, a resident of Midtown
on Jun 9, 2013 at 9:10 pm

I was not approached about this survey. But that is OK because surveys are supposed to be a statistical sampling of opinions. However, if asked, I would have supported infra-structure projects without any more bonds or other extra revenue generating tools. However, let us be careful about expressing a satisfaction factor about the city. Immediately, the union demand goes up and we all end up paying even more fantastic retirement benefits for city and county employees for decades to come leaving little money for any infrastructure.

p.s. Irrelevant to this thread: however, did you hear that ex-BART manager was paid $800k+ while not working on the top of $180k annual lifetime retirement benefit!

Posted by lazlo, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 11, 2013 at 2:30 pm


87% of Palo Alto management employees now receive $100,000+ salary/benefit packages. Management is not represented by any Union and salaries are determined by the City Manager and City Council. Less than 5% of Palo Alto city employees now represented by the largest Union earn below $100,000 in salaries. So much for the Union conspiracy theorists who beleive the Union controls the city. The real problem is that the City Manager has created a ballooning management hierarchy that is unsustainable with out of control skyrocketing salary/benefit packages. Too bad this crisis has eluded the Palo Alto Weekly and other print media in Palo Alto.

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