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By Paul Losch

How to Value the Palo Alto Persona

Uploaded: May 1, 2012

In recent weeks, I have driven a couple of major roads, and some that are less travelled, here in Palo Alto. It's disgusting. There is no question that we need major improvements of our City's roadways, and we need to allocate the funds to do it.

Stuff like this takes more than one year to accomplish, and it needs to get started.

Having said that, I am skeptical that many of the features and services that have been a key aspect of Palo Alto's culture deserve to be cut or eliminated at these difficult times.

Why do people live here? Why do people stay here? Why are people willing to pay ridiculous prices for high priced real estate to move into this town?

It sure as hell isn't the roads. Other infrastructures, such as sidewalks I find myself tripping on contribute to a less than quality experience to trying to walk or bike, instead of a car drive.

This is not just another suburban, bedroom community. The services and amenities that make this City proud are what attract people who live and visit here. IMHO, we must continue to have such features in order to maintain the vitality of Palo Alto.

Negligence in maintaining key infrastructure over many years does not countenance eliminating services or life quality that Palo Altans value. Stupid labor contracts found not just here, but state and nationwide, require significant changes, and in a way that is a transition, not some kind of draconian exercise that affects the heart of this, or any town.

The folks who like to post on this site often display a lack of understanding of how money and funding work in municipal matters. This is not an all or nothing exercise. Setting priorities is right, but that does not mean that certain things that are at the heart of this city should be done away with to pave those awful roads I have driven in recent days. City funding is not a simple exercise, and funding sources may only be available for certain projects. It is not one big pool of funds.

I could move back to Moraga if all I wanted was interested in was living in a boring community with great streets, a strip mall, and no personality.

Our eyes are wide open right now, which is a good thing. Infrastructure and labor and pension costs are the key issues we face. We cannot stop everything else just to get these two figured out.

We must not lose the persona of this special town. As a CEO I once nearly worked for, hunkering down is not a strategy. He got fired, his successor hunkered down, and the company was sold a few years later. Glad I did not take the job, we must not let hunkering down become the persona of Palo Alto.