News

Complaint prompts state probe of Tanaka's campaign

Fair Political Practices Commission launches investigation into whether Palo Alto council member inaccurately reported contributions

The agency that oversees California's campaign-finance laws has launched an investigation into the campaign of Palo Alto City Councilman Greg Tanaka, who reported an influx of cash from developers after winning the election last November and who accepted and later returned $5,000 from a property owner whose project he was set to review.

That investigation was prompted by two anonymous complaints against Tanaka, said Jay Wierenga, spokesman for the Fair Political Practices Commission, which oversees compliance of the Political Reform Act. One of these complaints was rejected while the other prompted the probe into potential inaccuracies in Tanaka's campaign reporting.

As the Weekly first reported in February, Tanaka had received $47,895 in late contributions (those that were reported after the November election), which totaled more than half of the total his campaign had raised. Most of the late cash came from developers and property managers, a few of whom gave the campaign $5,000 checks.

Tanaka is one of three council members who benefitted from the late surge of developer cash. Vice Mayor Liz Kniss and Councilman Adrian Fine also reported contributions from the builder community after their election. Both Kniss and Fine had also been subjects of anonymous complaints, according to the FPPC, though the agency had not indicated whether these complaints had triggered investigations.

Tanaka had previously told the Weekly that he was not involved with his campaign's fundraising and that his campaign had not done anything improper. He could not be reached for comment today.

But the Feb. 27 letter from the FPPC to Tanaka cites three potential violations that are being looked at. It notes that Tanaka was the "recipient of an approximately 13-foot campaign sign mounted atop the building of the architect for 429 University Ave.," which the council was set to review in February (and which it ultimately approved). The building is being developed by the family of Elizabeth Wong, whose son Andrew Wong contributed $5,000 to Tanaka.

The other two violations are more general in nature. One notes that Tanaka's filings leave blank the occupations of several developers, including Chop Keenan, Jim Baer, Chasen Rapp, Mart Gates Jr., Joseph Martinetti, Jr., and Perry Palmer.

"These inaccurate filings allowed Mr. Tanaka to conceal the amount of donations he received from real estate developers and mislead the voting public," the complaint alleges, according to the letter from the FPPC.

In addition, the FPPC cites a personal loan that Tanaka had made to his campaign, which was later paid back from late donations, according to the FPPC letter.

"The reporting of this transaction hid the source of his campaign financing from the voters," the letter states. "Because these late donations reimbursed the candidate's personal loan to his campaign, should these donations instead be classified as gifts and have triggered a recusal on the Wong property vote."

The concerns in the complaint hew closely to those made by Michael Harbour, a downtown property owner who appealed the council's prior approval of 429 University Ave., and various members of the group Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning. Before the Feb. 6 discussion of 429 University, several speakers called for Tanaka to recuse himself. The fact that Tanaka said he had returned the $5,000 to Andrew Wong -- citing the "proximity of time" between the donation and the review -- did not assuage these concerns.

"I encourage you to recuse yourself, even though you refunded it," downtown resident Andrew Gottlieb told Tanaka during the "public comments" portion of the meeting. "It creates a cloud and appearance of impropriety which undermines the public's confidence in the process, if you don't recuse yourself."

But after publicly confirming with City Attorney Molly Stump that he is not legally required to recuse himself from the discussion, Tanaka decided to participate. Later in the meeting, he was one of five council members to vote in favor of the revised project, which passed by a 5-3 vote.

The letter from the FPPC notes that at this time, it has "not made any determinations."

"We are simply providing you with this information and will be contacting you again to regarding this matter," the letter states.

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Comments

106 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 13, 2017 at 11:07 am

Annette is a registered user.

"Tanaka had previously told the Weekly that he was not involved with his campaign's fundraising . . . " Huh?? How can the beneficiary of raised funds make a valid claim to not be involved with a campaign's fundraising?

It's pathetic that local politics resemble national politics.


30 people like this
Posted by What about Lydia?
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 13, 2017 at 11:07 am

[Portion removed.]

Witchhunt toward a guy who is doing a great job.


25 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 13, 2017 at 11:22 am

It's amazing to me how protected the residentialist Lydia Kou is protected from vitriol of the residentialists. Tanaka leans towards development so people are out with pitchforks.

Let's examine the onslaught of money Kou received at the end as well.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander.


89 people like this
Posted by Bryan
a resident of Palo Verde
on Mar 13, 2017 at 11:28 am

I guess the "buck [doesn't] stop here" when it comes to Tanaka. Sad that he throws volunteers, who donated hundreds of hours to him, under the buss instead of taking accountability for his campaign's finances. In the end a true leader takes accountability for their failures, as much as their successes. I expect more from my councilmembers...


102 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 13, 2017 at 11:48 am

Getting the cash late so Tanaka, Fine and Kniss didn't have to publicize their developer ties is obviously well-planned dirty pool.

I still want an answer from Tanaka re his odd comment that he's going to work diligently to double the city's revenues! How? Why? Whatever happened to COST-EFFECTIVE city management??

To the best of my recollection, Lydia did not get her campaign contributions AFTER the election. If by the $30,000 you mean the funds she got from the "five families" that was before the election and merely helped to level the funding playing field that the well-funded developer-friendly slate got.

Like Annette, I'm totally disgusted with the way PA politics is run. [Portion removed.]


92 people like this
Posted by anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2017 at 11:50 am

[Portion removed.] Tanaka played fast and loose with finances during his campaign. He does not meet the ethical standards we expect of our elected officials in Palo Alto. Without these sketchy funds he well may not have been elected, particularly given his ineptness as a candidate (see PA Weekly interview online).

Our City Attorney was plain wrong when she allowed this clearly conflicted council member to vote on the Wong development when its owners improperly helped him get elected. [Portion removed; inaccurate factual assertion.]

We are stuck with not only an ethically compromised council member, but one whose thinking is just weird. He insists underground parking for homes in residential neighborhoods is a great idea. And has out sourced his communication and interaction with residents by being the first councilperson ever to retain a so called "legislative aid" though Tenaka is not a legislator.

The FPPC Complaints are still grinding through its process on Liz Kniss and Adrian Fine. Their strategy was of hiding their truck loads of developer money from voters till after the election (Kniss going so far as not opening envelopes with huge contributions in them so as to not report on time). Kniss, Fine and Tenaka yelled about residents giving other candidates large contributions, yet those contributions were above board and transparent, not hidden from voters - hidden to fool us into thinking that these 3 weren't the developers candidates of choice, knowing they would see policies to their liking, so contributing mightly. Yet these Council members want us to trust them? Why? We would be foolish to do so.


2 people like this
Posted by The weekly obeys
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 13, 2017 at 12:47 pm

[Post removed.]


12 people like this
Posted by Laughing
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 13, 2017 at 1:16 pm

[Post removed.]


19 people like this
Posted by Really?
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 13, 2017 at 1:39 pm

Interesting, all the donors in question are on his FPPC forms, with their occupation and employer. Funny how the Weekly couldn't look that up. It's in the public record and has been for months. All recognized as part of the building industry. He never announced he wasn't going to accept donations from the building industry.

The news is that Tanaka is being harassed. Write that story, find out who is doing that.

Banner is listed as an expense, and loan if recorded accurately. No hidden agenda.

His campaign is clearly cheaper than the Kou/Keller campaign by tens of thousands of dollar. They spent their funds attacking other candidates, running phone polls to get their message right--but I thought the residentialists knew this town, why a poll to figure how to reach the voters?

Tanaka didn't call out fellow candidates negatively, or campaign against the PASZ candidates. He Got his message out, shared his ideas, knocked on about 1,000 doors and had hundreds endorsing him in addition to key leaders.

Then, he got a lot of votes. And enough to win a seat, even though none of the newspapers endorsed him.

Who in Palo Alto will want to step up against the PASZ and press machinery next year for the council race?

[Portion removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]

The campaign is over...move on. Stop the attacks. It's hateful. And drags my quality of life down into the mud.


10 people like this
Posted by Watch Tanaka's Campaign Interview
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2017 at 1:42 pm

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


38 people like this
Posted by Watch Tanaka's Campaign Interview
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2017 at 1:47 pm

@Really? Mr. Tanaka's campaign filings did not report the in-kind contribution of the illegal banner. And his forms do not accurately list the employer and occupation for some of his large donors. The forms are at Web Link so everyone can see for themselves, instead of your inaccuracies.


6 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 13, 2017 at 2:03 pm

[Post removed.]


69 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 13, 2017 at 2:06 pm

Marie is a registered user.

If the FPPC finds that Tanaka has violated California's Campaign Finance Regulations, he should resign.

Tanaka's supporters vilified other candidates for accepting donations from residents, that only resulted in those candidates having a similar amount of campaign funds to Tanaka Kniss and Fine. And now we find out, that contrary to their campaign promises, they accepted even more money from developers (aka "builders") [portion removed.]

I hope Palo Alto voters remember these issues when and if Tanaka and Fine run for re-election and vote for other more honest candidates.


57 people like this
Posted by Kick Them Out
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 13, 2017 at 2:24 pm

The recent PA City Council election stinks to high heaven.


11 people like this
Posted by Support tanaka
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 13, 2017 at 2:57 pm

kick them out--why does the recent election stink to,high heaven? Because PASZ and the residentialists got thumped at the box office? Because the vast majority of voters supported the platform f knows, fine and Tanaka as opposed to the "no growth " policy pushed by the PASZ slate? Seems to me that certain residentialists cannot accept the results of the last election and are hell bent on discrediting certain members. [Portion removed.]


52 people like this
Posted by Unethical
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2017 at 3:31 pm

This issue isn't about who won or lost, it's about a candidate [portion removed] hiding the source of campaign funds. Give yourself a loan and then collect a bunch of money after the election to pay yourself back?

[Portion removed.] It bears no resemblance whatsoever to candidates who received donations before the election and disclosed them as such.


6 people like this
Posted by Support tanaka
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 13, 2017 at 3:42 pm

Unethical-- perhaps instead of swallowing the weekly, one-sided coverage of this matter, hook line and sinker. You may want to read the Daily Post coverage of this story, in their balanced coverage, Tanaka addresses the claims made by the "anonymous" complaint at. Unfortunately the weekly could not be bothered to report that. And BTW, regarding the statement about Tanaka reusing himsthe of from the vote on the Wong project-- it would have been irrelevant, the vote was 5-3 in favor.


30 people like this
Posted by Unethical
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2017 at 3:57 pm

@Support: Are you saying the Weekly's statements in this article are factually incorrect, including the direct quotes? From the article:

Tanaka had received $47,895 in late contributions (those that were reported after the November election), which totaled more than half of the total his campaign had raised.

...the FPPC cites a personal loan that Tanaka had made to his campaign, which was later paid back from late donations, according to the FPPC letter.

"The reporting of this transaction hid the source of his campaign financing from the voters," the letter states.


34 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 13, 2017 at 4:03 pm

"And BTW, regarding the weekly statement about Tanaka reusing himsthe of from the vote on the Wong project-- it would have been irrelevant, the vote was 5-3 in favor."

Some posters [portion removed] do not understand ethics. No surprise in this arena.

Look, what matters is Tanaka voted for a project by a developer whose tangible election support he neglected to report as required by law. The ultimate outcome is irrelevant for ethics purposes. Had Tanaka done the ethical thing, the vote would have been 4-3.


51 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 13, 2017 at 4:04 pm

Tanaka should have recused himself from the Wong project vote ... whether it would have changed the ultimate outcome of the vote or not is what is irrelevant. He had a clear conflict of interest. It left a very distinct impression of someone who is not concerned about avoiding conflicts of interest. He appears to either be very naive (giving him the benefit of the doubt) or else someone with rather strong disregard of ethics and common sense.


4 people like this
Posted by Support Tanaka
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 13, 2017 at 4:24 pm

Unethical-- read Tanakas comments in the daily post. As for what the letter states that is not necessarily a factual statement. My point about the weekly is that they have no comments whatsoever from Tanaka. The daily post was able to get comments from him. Why not the weekly? Not part of their agenda?

[Portion removed.]

Dan-- the city attorney stated that Tanaka did not have to recuse himself. [Portion removed.]


57 people like this
Posted by Unethical
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2017 at 4:31 pm

Tanaka's presence in the discussion regarding the Wong project could have affected how others voted. There is no guarantee that everyone would have voted the same had he recused himself from the entire issue. Unfortunately, now we'll never know.

Looking at Tanaka's campaign finance reports, it's just amazing how many developers and investors decided to give him $2500-$5000 after it was too late to report it so voters knew what was up. $17,500 came in on Nov 20 alone.

Unethical. And I hope the FPPC finds it criminal.


4 people like this
Posted by Which one is it
a resident of Meadow Park
on Mar 13, 2017 at 4:31 pm

[Portion removed.]


40 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 13, 2017 at 5:04 pm

Annette is a registered user.

I have never filed a FPPC complaint and frankly would have to research how to do that. But whoever brought this to light deserves some thanks b/c something good may come of this. I am reminded of how much I appreciate candidates like LaDoris Cordell and others who eschew all that money can buy and run a clean campaign based ON THEIR OWN MERITS, their record if an incumbent, and what we can learn from them through public forums like the LWV panels. These candidates run to serve and bring their knowledge and talents to bear on our community. We should elect more people like that and see if that doesn't bring about some sorely needed reality-based planning and policies.


33 people like this
Posted by margaret heath
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 13, 2017 at 5:07 pm

@Support Tanaka

"it would have been irrelevant, the vote was 5-3 in favor."

Quite the opposite.

Going into the council discussion there was an expectation that council member Filseth, who had previously been critical of this project, would vote with council members Dubois, Holman, and Kou, against the Wong's proposal. With only council members Fine, Kniss, and Wolbach in favor the vote would fail.

That was why it was so crucial for the Wongs that Tanaka be able to vote, and he was so adamant he would not withdraw.

Mayor Scharff's withdrawal was an added blow to the Wong's as it was expected he would vote for the project. Even more pressure for Tanaka to participate. The Wongs were fortunate that in the endcouncil member Filseth decided he could support their project.


Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 13, 2017 at 5:19 pm

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


41 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 13, 2017 at 6:05 pm

City attorney cleared it so its all good right? ... lawyers give legal advice, not ethics counseling. If you rely on legal advice alone to set your moral compass you are heading for trouble. Lots of actions and choices in life are legal but not ethical. He should have recused himself and kept the donation. Taking money from developers is legal and not at all unethical... but trying to hide the source of donations would be unethical. Pretending that there is no implied conflict of interest in this case strikes me as just tone deaf.


62 people like this
Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 13, 2017 at 7:05 pm

What Tanaka & Kniss did is exploit a legal hole: loan your campaign tens of thousands of dollars, and have donors give donations after the election to pay off the loan; this means the voters do not know who the candidate is beholden to before they cast their votes.

It may be legal, but most will conclude it's not ethical, and in effect, gives those council members little moral basis to lead.

I fear the editors of the Palo Alto Weekly are afraid to write an editoral castigating Tanaka & Kniss. The editors have always been big fans of Kniss, and their silence is deafening.


57 people like this
Posted by PA Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 13, 2017 at 7:27 pm

We have an ethically challenged city council this year. And we, the residents, are the ones that will be hurt by the corrupt decisions made by this council. Tanaka, Fine and Kniss need to be put under the microscope and their financial dealings closely scrutinized. Palo Alto politics disguise me.


8 people like this
Posted by Support tanaka
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 13, 2017 at 7:39 pm

Funny reading all the outrage comments on this thread. A stranger reading these comments would actually believe that our council is corrupt and the residents are all in an uproar. The opposite is true. A few weeks back there was big talk on this forum about a recall. So what has happened with that? The answer- nothing. The council members that we hear all the complaining about were elected overwhelmingly by the residents. They still enjoy the support of the vast majority of the residents. The comments on this forum are not indicative of the real feelings of the vast majority of residents.


39 people like this
Posted by go for recall
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 13, 2017 at 10:07 pm

@Support tanaka - Let's test the recent "overwhelming" Council election results with a recall vote since the results were difficult to believe with Tanaka and Fine getting their support in the precincts surrounding the Downtown where their policies have created the most damage and outrage. It defies common sense. My bet is on a successful recall and it might be "overwhelming" if it comes to a vote. A recall will gain momentum
and will be seen as a "protest vote", against the dynamics that have been playing out here over the last more than dozen years with the Council, the staff, and local developers.





59 people like this
Posted by Castilleja - another Tanaka connection
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 13, 2017 at 11:10 pm

Yep, TANAKA is a major disappointment. Hope he will be kicked out before the Castilleja Expansion vote comes up for council vote. His wife went to Castilleja, he accepted money from the school's developers and board members like Martinetti. Tanaka is wrong for Palo Alto. [Portion removed.]


15 people like this
Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2017 at 10:19 am

According to the SCC Registrar of Voters, Tanaka received 13,445 votes. With about 37,000 registered voters in Palo Alto, Tanaka was elected by about 33% of the voters.

While not overwhelming, this is typical of Palo Alto Council elections.

It's a shame that Council votes are not recorded in a way that allows voters to see just how each Council Member voted during his/her tenure. Having access to this information would make it easier to evaluate each Council Member's role in supporting, or resisting, the hyper-growth we've seen in Palo Alto over the past couple of decades.


11 people like this
Posted by Jared J
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 14, 2017 at 1:33 pm

Greg Tanaka won the election fair and square, and this anonymous complaint is nothing more than sour grapes. All of his funding was accurately reported. Yes, Tanaka received funding from developers. So what? Maybe business people saw that Tanaka would be a voice for them on council, unlike our previous council which did nothing to include business voices OR to address the housing crisis.


37 people like this
Posted by Joe Hirsch
a resident of Green Acres
on Mar 14, 2017 at 1:38 pm

To Support Tanaka,

PASZ had no "slate" in the last election, although we supported certain candidates, just as Palo Alto Forward supported other candidates (were they PAF's "slate"?).

More importantly, people need to know that PASZ has never been no-growth or anti-growth.

We seek growth that is consistent with current zoning and protective of the interests of the majority of residents of Palo Alto.

We have too many underparked buildings filled by employees who park in adjacent neighborhoods to the detriment of the residents who live there. We have tall buildings that are not set back from the sidewalks and create the wrong (in our opinion) ambience for our City. We have buildings that are approved because of certain "public benefits", which, as we all know, are not truly "public benefits" at all. They are cover to allow City Councils to approve developments that grab every sf of space they can, which is most valuable to the owners of the property, but not the public at large.

This all leads to incredible amounts of traffic and congestion too often throughout the day. Long lines of cars can be seen (and unfortunately at times we're sitting in them), which benefits no one and may be harmful to our health (e.g., on El Camino, Foothill Expressway, Junipero Serra, Middlefield, University Avenue, Embarcadero, Oregon Expressway, Arastradero, San Antonio, etc.).

PASZ selected its name - Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning - to reflect our true position, not what pro-growth, high-density advocates want people to believe it is and what it stands for. We love Palo Alto and don't want it to be ruined by people only interested in making it into something that it has not been and was never intended to be (e.g, San Francisco- or San Jose-like).

So, I reiterate, PASZ is not now, and never has been, no-growth or anti-growth.

Joe Hirsch
Member of the PASZ Steering Committee


8 people like this
Posted by I also support tanaka
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 14, 2017 at 1:59 pm

Joe Hirsch, speaking for PASZ, goes to great lengths to dispute what was well known last fall- that pasz was running a skate. Not sure why the long explanation. Joe however says nothing about the continued attacks on Tanaka. PASZ was trounced in the last election. People are for good growth but they realized that pasz and their council members are focused on a no growth platform.


5 people like this
Posted by Support tanaka
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 14, 2017 at 2:47 pm

go for recall- by all means. Get the recall going. Draw the papers, gather the signatures and see if you can qualify it for the ballot. The ball is in your court. All I hear, on this forum alone, is a few cries for a recall.


22 people like this
Posted by Robert Smith
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 14, 2017 at 4:13 pm

I am reading all of this trying to figure it out. So far, I cannot say whether I think laws were broken or not. However, Mr. Tanaka does not seem to have behaved with the level of integrity and transparency that I would like to see in our elected officials.

I am not a committed residentialist or pro-developer. But I am not happy with the manner in which the new council has been using their majority to gavel things through without reaching a community consensus. This leads me to be suspicious of some of the supporters and how they interacted with the candidates they chose to support.

Perhaps we need to get some different council people.


1 person likes this
Posted by Support tanaka
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 14, 2017 at 4:27 pm

Or, Robert, perhaps the new council is doing what the vast majority of,people in Palo Alto,elected them to do. But if you want different council members, you are free to start a recall effort and /or run for the next election. Let's be honest-- people in Palo,alto were very dissatisfied with the actions of the pasz-leaning members of the last council. The new council has only been in office 2 months and yet we have a daily series of complaints and attacks on certain of the non-pasz leaning members. Of course one has to remember that the comments on this forum do not represent residents feelings and they it is the weekly job to write articles that they know will generate controversy in order to increase traffic to their site. And BTW, I see there is still no article from the weekly were they get tanaka's take on the matter. The daily post had that when they reported this story.


5 people like this
Posted by Really?
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 14, 2017 at 5:21 pm

Joe Hersh,

I'm interested in learning more about your claim that PASZ is fine with having council vote based on current ordinance and zoning--which the Wong building based its project on, and why staff approved it initially, but then PASZ directed council invented more hoops for approval--bad policy in itself. That building has been code compliant for two years. So, if council votes down the project they need to find a violation of zoning or code or xxxx.

So, why attack the Wong project?

And don't say is due to compatibility, because that is subjective and often not clearly legislated. Downtown has specific design guidelines that staff and architects use for project design.

Had council not approved the project, then the applicant could legally sue the city to perform its own policies. And likely get significant damages for lost rent, construction costs, legal fees, etc. spending tax dollars that I'd like to see spent on stakeholder meetings that will culminate in better policy, Comp Plan completion, updated zoning and ordinances, etc.

Laws are laws, and all of council swore to uphold the laws of the land, including our city charter and all the zoning and code.

I have not seen the PASZ group transition their operation into governance and policy setting, instead using their message and followers to land character assasination and partical truths--like the silly one here about the Signs.com expenditure for the Tanaka banner reported in the Post article. Data and facts need to align with the argument. This is why I say, the campaign is over--start governing.

Calling a council member corrupt is a strong charge, it means they are using their position for personal gain by getting cash for their personal bank account (not unlike what Holman tried doing when getting her clients property zoned from R1 to R30 during the housing element approval process to receive fees for value added based on her actions).

I would not call the PASZ council member corrupt, maybe badly informed, and not open to any ideas except their agenda, but hardly corrupt.



12 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 14, 2017 at 5:25 pm

"Let's be honest-- people in Palo,alto were very dissatisfied with the actions of the pasz-leaning members of the last council. The new council has only been in office 2 months and yet we have a daily series of complaints and attacks on certain of the non-pasz leaning members."

A prime example of a self-canceling statement pair if I ever saw one.

Let's be honest. People in Palo Alto believed the residentialist propaganda which the members of the Gang of Five used their campaign money to distribute. People in Palo Alto were/are honest, and they expected the same of the candidates.

Let's be hopeful. People of Palo Alto will apply critical scrutiny to campaign propaganda in the next election.


1 person likes this
Posted by 4-3 Vote Does NOT Pass
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 14, 2017 at 5:26 pm

[Post removed due to inaccurate factual assertion.]


1 person likes this
Posted by Support tanaka
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 14, 2017 at 5:56 pm

Sorry, 4-3 vote does not pass-- your comment is false

Web Link

"Ultimately, after a lengthy debate, the council voted 4-3 not to move ahead with the change, with council members Tom DuBois, Karen Holman and Liz Kniss recommending that the city adopt the ban for up to a year. "

And

Web Link

"The amendment passed 4-3, with Mayor Sid Espinosa, Shepherd, Greg Schmid and Karen Holman voting in its favor and Greg Scharff and Gail Price absent"

And there are many other examples you can find in the weekly archive.


Curmudgeon--as opposed to the negative propaganda and attack ads that the pasz slate fed to the public? The voters saw through their deception and the inaction of the previous council.


13 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 14, 2017 at 6:46 pm

"Curmudgeon--as opposed to the negative propaganda and attack ads that the pasz slate fed to the public?"

I can understand why PAF would label factual expositions as negative propaganda and attack ads. Getting busted isn't pleasant.

Or, charitably, maybe PAF has come to believe its own spiel. Any veteran carny will tell you that's a no-no.


1 person likes this
Posted by Support tanaka
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 14, 2017 at 6:59 pm

Sorry curmudgeon, you are wrong.

Here is the weekly article discussing the negative ads unleashed by pasz candidates Keller and Kuo


Web Link

As for being busted, it was pasz that was busted in the last election. Voters in Palo Alto just did not buy their "no growth/we have ours" platform.


21 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 14, 2017 at 8:49 pm

"Here is the weekly article discussing the negative ads unleashed by pasz candidates Keller and Kou."

Your cited article nowhere mentions PASZ. OK, I call: In what alternative reality was Keller a PASZ member? (This is Palo Alto, good buddy, not the Trump White House.)


"Voters in Palo Alto just did not buy their "no growth/we have ours" platform."

Apparently voters in Palo Alto indeed did buy the Gang of Five's pretend "no growth/we have ours" platform. They got elected, didn't they? So did Kou, who had an honest platform of careful city planning.


20 people like this
Posted by Robert Smith
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 15, 2017 at 10:53 am

@Support Tanaka,

Thanks for your perspective. I really don't know much about this yet.

In general, I am looking for more effort for factions and parties to work together to find common ground and pragmatic solutions. I am not very happy when one side gains the upper hand (probably temporarily), and decides to gavel through a bunch of propositions that have not had much discussion or overall thinking put into them.

It seems to me that the pro-development group has done exactly this since the last election.


12 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 15, 2017 at 3:32 pm

"I am not very happy when one side gains the upper hand (probably temporarily), and decides to gavel through a bunch of propositions that have not had much discussion or overall thinking put into them."

We can be confident these pro-development coups have been thoroughly discussed and thought through by the participants--visible and otherwise--behind closed doors and/or in out-of-town restaurants.


1 person likes this
Posted by Proof please
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 15, 2017 at 4:02 pm

Why don't you provide some evidence for your claims, curmudgeon. You seem to be one of the online leaders in constantly attacking certain council members. What we ate seeing on this forum is a series of claims made by people that are unhappy with the last election.


2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 15, 2017 at 4:22 pm

[Post removed.]


1 person likes this
Posted by Support tanaka
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 15, 2017 at 5:08 pm

[Post removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 15, 2017 at 6:01 pm

[Post removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by Support tanaka
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Mar 15, 2017 at 6:12 pm

[Post removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by It's karen
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 15, 2017 at 6:17 pm

[Post removed.]


5 people like this
Posted by Hahahahaha
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 15, 2017 at 6:31 pm

[Post removed.]


1 person likes this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 15, 2017 at 7:37 pm

[Post removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by Corruption
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 15, 2017 at 7:47 pm

[Post removed.]


21 people like this
Posted by GoodDay
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Mar 16, 2017 at 6:45 pm

Well the kniss FPPC letter seems to have been a good day for Tanaka, bumping his headlines. I hope the FPPC budgeted enough overtime to deal w 3 Palo Alto politician investigations.

If the claims are substantiated, I hope substantial fines are levied for each and every violation. And these individuals realize the gravensss of their ethical challenges and resign.


22 people like this
Posted by Amazing
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 16, 2017 at 7:11 pm

Agreed! Pretty amazing that a council member can be accused of campaign violations on Monday and be bumped from the "home" page by Friday by even larger campaign violations. Reading the FPPC letter on Kniss it's pretty damning the same Treasurer was able to comply with the law for McDougall but not Kniss during the same time period


9 people like this
Posted by More Evidence
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Mar 16, 2017 at 10:29 pm

The letter against Kniss is very compelling. Is there a link to the letter against Tanaka? Did he fail to report in a timely manner as required by law?


15 people like this
Posted by Pants on fire
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 16, 2017 at 11:09 pm

The approval of 429 University Second Reading comes up next Monday, March 20. But it's on the Consent Calendar so the conflicted council people can vote for it without blushing.

Tanaka was a Republican who changed his spots shortly before the election in order to get the Dem's endorsement, he seems to have lots of experience with deception, and not answering questions. The Weekly did not endorse him because he would not answer their questions.


18 people like this
Posted by Truthiness
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 17, 2017 at 3:24 pm

THe large [portion removed] campaign sign downtown on the office of the architect for 429 University is troubling. At first Tanaka denied knowing the sign was there (!) Now he's claimed his campaign paid for the creation of the sign (but not the advertising space as far as I know). Which is it? Ethics seems to escape him - his comments before the 429 meeting were particularly troubling. He seems to equate the bare legal minimum with avoiding the appearance of an ethical conflict (which is the standard council uses)


11 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Mar 17, 2017 at 4:52 pm

They should table this vote until the investigation(s) of campaign abuses is finished.

The large campaign sign incident reminds me of the old joke, "Who are you going to believe? Me or your own eyes?"


8 people like this
Posted by Truthiness
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 17, 2017 at 6:21 pm

The weekly staff deleted my reference to the "illegal" sign. I said illegal because it's size violated our sign laws not because of the fundraising conflicts.


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