Town Square

ON DEADLINE: Mayor Yeh: Another soft-spoken big-challenges year for Palo Alto

Original post made by Jay Thorwaldson, editor emeritus, on Jan 14, 2012

Palo Alto will speak softly but face big-stick challenges in 2012 as new Mayor Yiaway Yeh puts his stamp on city policies, practices and politics. He is expected to echo 2011 Mayor Sid Espinosa's style, easy-going on the surface but with a strong undercurrent of action and commitment. A quiet echo, but with depth behind it.

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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm

"Yet the truly remarkable aspect of the meeting was the unanimity of praise for Yeh's nearly four years on the council,"
What is remarkable about this? This goes on very year. The council members are always praising each other and engaging in back slapping and telling each other and everyone in earshot what a great job they are doing. The council members love to praise each other. And if you die then the praise really pours is, as we recently witnessed.

"More recently, in the early 2000s the normally routine election meeting exploded with a severe verbal attack by former Councilwoman Nancy Lytle on new Mayor Dena Mossar."
So what is it Jay--this election was remarkable or the election for mayor is "normally routine"?????????

Let's see how this mayor addresses the problems facing our city--hint--they are not aesthetically pleasing electric car charging stations or aesthetically pleasing bike bridges over 101.

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Posted by A-Mayor-For-All-The-People?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2012 at 10:55 am

> Klein cited Yeh's working for other governments, most recently
> as assistant auditor in Oakland, as demonstrating experience in
> how local governments work.

Interesting. Wonder if Mr. Klein thinks the same thing about the Palo Alto Auditors that have served while he has been involved with local government? Before Sharon Erickson left, she expressed concern that most of her recommendations were not being honored. So .. did she really understand local government, if local government ignored her recommendations?

Given how corrupt the Oakland government seems to people viewing it from the outside, what has Mr. Yeh done to reduce corruption in Oakland? Has Mr. Yeh produced a list of audits of which he can claim primary authorship so that we here in Palo Alto can review his work? He certainly has been quiet about the state of the Office of the Palo Alto Auditor, which has been less than effective over the years.

> Yet the truly remarkable aspect of the meeting was the unanimity
> of praise for Yeh's nearly four years on the council, during
> which he served on the council's
> Finance Committee and represented Palo Alto on the
> Northern California Power Agency (NCPA), which represents cities and
> agencies that own their own power utilities. He also served on
> the City-School Liaison Committee, in which representatives of
> the city and Palo Alto Unified School District try to identify
> and hammer out issues between them, not always successfully.

Again, has Mr. Yeh produced a paper trail to document his contributions to these various committees that he seems to have been assigned? Anyone have any idea what input about Palo Alto, and Palo Altans, this man has been making as our “representative”? Or has he been saying anything that comes to mind?

> And only one speaker from the public, frequent critic Mark
> Peterson Perez, suggested that it's time for the public to elect
> a mayor directly rather than have the mayor selected by the council.

Perez is someone who seems to make a lot of noise, but not much sense.

The Weekly seems to be spending a lot of time creating a “persona” for Mr. Yeh, of which he may very well not be worthy. Why?

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Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 16, 2012 at 2:55 pm

A-Mayor-For-All-The-People points out something that is seen too often in newspaper reports and city documents: a list of “accomplishments” free of results. He "served" and "represented." But what were Yeh's SPECIFIC accomplishments during his four years on the council?

This ties in to a general lack of accountability at City Hall, where measurable objectives are rarely stated. City goals are often written in vague language: “We will “support,” “evaluate,” “encourage,” “study,” … There are few quantifiable measures which could be used to determine whether the goals were met.

Yeh got the usual “parade of praise from colleagues…” which we have come to expect from council members at every swearing in and swearing out ceremony.

Comments about him having an “unswervingly polite manner,” being a "gentleman and a gentle man," providing "thoughtful and penetrating comments," being a Gunn graduate are all doubtlessly true. He does seem to be a very nice person. But that's not going to make him a great mayor.

What the city needs now is someone who can make tough decisions and be a strong leader in moving the council and staff toward focusing on the budget and priorities. Only time will tell if Yeh has the will and ability.

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Posted by svatoid
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 17, 2012 at 11:35 am

"Santa Clara County Supervisor Liz Kniss (who recently announced she will seek another council term after she is timed out of the Board of Supervisors slot), also praised Yeh."
So why does Kniss want to replace Yeh on the CIty Council????? Maybe one of the Weekly reporters can ask her that and write a story about it (nah, that will never happen)

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Posted by Howard
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 20, 2012 at 2:46 pm

"A quiet echo, but with depth behind it."

I see the quiet echo. Not so sure about the depth part.