News

Seeking a more 'progressive' government, human relations commissioner joins council race

Steven Lee has criticized city leaders for failing to act on human rights issues

Steven Lee, who serves on Palo Alto's Human Relations Commission, is seeking a seat on the Palo Alto City Council this fall. Courtesy Steven Lee.

Steven Lee, a member of the Human Relations Commission and an outspoken critic of City Council's recent record on human rights, is joining the increasingly crowded race for a council seat.

Lee, a tech attorney who lives in Midtown, is entering the council race as his term on the commission approaches its conclusion. While the term expired on May 31, Lee has remained on the commission while the city recruits a new member for a seat that is currently vacant.

In his three years on the commission, Lee distinguished himself as a passionate and, at times, outspoken advocate for social services, police reforms and programs that encourage inclusiveness. He proudly wears the mantle of "progressive Democrat" and says he wants to see Palo Alto become a more bold, progressive and responsive community. He also wants to see a council that is more accountable to residents and is quicker to act on priorities such as building housing and launching programs to assist those in most need within the community.

He believes that Palo Alto's housing shortage is inextricably linked to other issues that the city is grappling with, including public safety, sustainability and transportation. After years of failing to meet its own housing goals, the city has a lot of catching up to do, Lee told this news organization.

"If we want to maintain local control, we must also exercise local responsibility by making it easier to build new housing that meets community needs," Lee said.

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This, he said, means encouraging all types of housing except luxury condos and prioritizing residential development over offices.

"It's hard to say you're serious about housing if you keep digging yourself into a deeper hole," Lee said, pointing to the city's high jobs-housing imbalance.

As a commissioner, Lee has not shied away from controversy. He was dismayed when the council did not adopt in 2018 the gender-equality initiative known as the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, for which he had advocated. Earlier this month, he penned an opinion piece in the Weekly in which he criticized the council for referring the proposed ordinance to a committee and for failing to act on it for nearly two years.

He also took issue with the Palo Alto Unified School District decision in 2018 to not rename a local middle school after Fred Yamamoto, a decorated war veteran and Paly graduate who shares a last name with an Imperial Japanese Navy general. After that decision, Lee joined a group of district parents in drafting a resolution to combat racism in local schools.

In April 2019, Lee publicly weighed in on a viral video showing resident Rebecca Parker-Mankey berating an elderly man in a "Make America Great Again" hat at a Starbucks on California Avenue. Lee said at the time that the MAGA hat "at its best represents a distorted and inaccurate view of America" and suggested that more outreach is needed to those with different views. "We must resist sinking down to their level," he wrote, sparking blowback on social media from critics of Parker-Mankey's conduct.

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Earlier this year, he vied with his commission colleague, the Rev. Koloma Smith, over who would chair the commission after a vote resulted in a deadlock. In February, Lee ended the stalemate by throwing support to Smith, a move that won praise from other commissioners.

Lee also ran into some opposition from the council in May, when had urged the city to address the multiple allegations of sexual harassment and a hard-drinking culture against the nonprofit Downtown Streets Team, which receives grant funding from the city to provide support services for homeless individuals. As a member of a Human Relations Commissions subcommittee that reviewed the grants, Lee had urged the city to request documented proof from Downtown Streets Team that it had addressed these issues, including a report that the nonprofit had commissioned in response to the allegations.

The council in June declined to do that and approved the full grant allotment to Downtown Streets Team based on verbal assurances from the nonprofit group's board chair that the issues have been resolved.

In his June opinion piece, Lee blasted the council for declining to follow what he called the "very standard practice of providing records and reports regarding the alleged harassment prior to signing a new contract with the alleged harasser."

"The council, however, viewed my demands for transparency — the same transparency a private organization would seek as a matter of course — as overstepping and intrusive," Lee wrote.

On this issue, and others, he believes the council has been too timid and too deferential to city staff. He wrote that his interactions with the council over the past three years reflect "a City Hall culture that is unaccountable, resistant to change and dissenting views, overly deferential to a staff that is unresponsive and out of touch with the community's needs."

Lee said in an interview that if elected, he would not shy away from difficult discussions that may stray from staff recommendations. He pointed to last month's budget adoption, which resulted in about $40 million in cuts. Rather than cutting community services, the city should have delayed some of its big-ticketed capital projects, such as a new fire station at Mitchell Park and the proposed police headquarters on Sherman Avenue. Some council members have argued for that approach, he noted, but were not allowed to advance these proposals.

"When we are having vigorous discussions and debates, that's really when meaningful work is done," Lee, 31, told this news organization. "We have a culture where there is a reluctance to speak your mind, a culture that silences individuals who are pushing for change and for doing things differently. I want us to be a council that isn't afraid to do that."

Lee also serves on the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority's Citizens Advisory Committee, the Midtown Residents Association and WizChinese, a nonprofit that supports the city's Chinese community.

Lee is vying for one of four seats that will be up for grabs in November. Three incumbent council members — Mayor Adrian Fine, Councilwoman Lydia Kou and Councilman Greg Tanaka — are all eligible for fresh terms. Kou has declared her intention to seek a fresh term. Councilwoman Liz Kniss is terming out at the end of the year.

Other candidates in the race are former Mayor Pat Burt, attorney Rebecca Eisenberg, teacher Greer Stone; and Planning and Transportation Commission Chair Cari Templeton and planning Commissioner Ed Lauing.

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Seeking a more 'progressive' government, human relations commissioner joins council race

Steven Lee has criticized city leaders for failing to act on human rights issues

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Jul 21, 2020, 8:04 pm

Steven Lee, a member of the Human Relations Commission and an outspoken critic of City Council's recent record on human rights, is joining the increasingly crowded race for a council seat.

Lee, a tech attorney who lives in Midtown, is entering the council race as his term on the commission approaches its conclusion. While the term expired on May 31, Lee has remained on the commission while the city recruits a new member for a seat that is currently vacant.

In his three years on the commission, Lee distinguished himself as a passionate and, at times, outspoken advocate for social services, police reforms and programs that encourage inclusiveness. He proudly wears the mantle of "progressive Democrat" and says he wants to see Palo Alto become a more bold, progressive and responsive community. He also wants to see a council that is more accountable to residents and is quicker to act on priorities such as building housing and launching programs to assist those in most need within the community.

He believes that Palo Alto's housing shortage is inextricably linked to other issues that the city is grappling with, including public safety, sustainability and transportation. After years of failing to meet its own housing goals, the city has a lot of catching up to do, Lee told this news organization.

"If we want to maintain local control, we must also exercise local responsibility by making it easier to build new housing that meets community needs," Lee said.

This, he said, means encouraging all types of housing except luxury condos and prioritizing residential development over offices.

"It's hard to say you're serious about housing if you keep digging yourself into a deeper hole," Lee said, pointing to the city's high jobs-housing imbalance.

As a commissioner, Lee has not shied away from controversy. He was dismayed when the council did not adopt in 2018 the gender-equality initiative known as the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, for which he had advocated. Earlier this month, he penned an opinion piece in the Weekly in which he criticized the council for referring the proposed ordinance to a committee and for failing to act on it for nearly two years.

He also took issue with the Palo Alto Unified School District decision in 2018 to not rename a local middle school after Fred Yamamoto, a decorated war veteran and Paly graduate who shares a last name with an Imperial Japanese Navy general. After that decision, Lee joined a group of district parents in drafting a resolution to combat racism in local schools.

In April 2019, Lee publicly weighed in on a viral video showing resident Rebecca Parker-Mankey berating an elderly man in a "Make America Great Again" hat at a Starbucks on California Avenue. Lee said at the time that the MAGA hat "at its best represents a distorted and inaccurate view of America" and suggested that more outreach is needed to those with different views. "We must resist sinking down to their level," he wrote, sparking blowback on social media from critics of Parker-Mankey's conduct.

Earlier this year, he vied with his commission colleague, the Rev. Koloma Smith, over who would chair the commission after a vote resulted in a deadlock. In February, Lee ended the stalemate by throwing support to Smith, a move that won praise from other commissioners.

Lee also ran into some opposition from the council in May, when had urged the city to address the multiple allegations of sexual harassment and a hard-drinking culture against the nonprofit Downtown Streets Team, which receives grant funding from the city to provide support services for homeless individuals. As a member of a Human Relations Commissions subcommittee that reviewed the grants, Lee had urged the city to request documented proof from Downtown Streets Team that it had addressed these issues, including a report that the nonprofit had commissioned in response to the allegations.

The council in June declined to do that and approved the full grant allotment to Downtown Streets Team based on verbal assurances from the nonprofit group's board chair that the issues have been resolved.

In his June opinion piece, Lee blasted the council for declining to follow what he called the "very standard practice of providing records and reports regarding the alleged harassment prior to signing a new contract with the alleged harasser."

"The council, however, viewed my demands for transparency — the same transparency a private organization would seek as a matter of course — as overstepping and intrusive," Lee wrote.

On this issue, and others, he believes the council has been too timid and too deferential to city staff. He wrote that his interactions with the council over the past three years reflect "a City Hall culture that is unaccountable, resistant to change and dissenting views, overly deferential to a staff that is unresponsive and out of touch with the community's needs."

Lee said in an interview that if elected, he would not shy away from difficult discussions that may stray from staff recommendations. He pointed to last month's budget adoption, which resulted in about $40 million in cuts. Rather than cutting community services, the city should have delayed some of its big-ticketed capital projects, such as a new fire station at Mitchell Park and the proposed police headquarters on Sherman Avenue. Some council members have argued for that approach, he noted, but were not allowed to advance these proposals.

"When we are having vigorous discussions and debates, that's really when meaningful work is done," Lee, 31, told this news organization. "We have a culture where there is a reluctance to speak your mind, a culture that silences individuals who are pushing for change and for doing things differently. I want us to be a council that isn't afraid to do that."

Lee also serves on the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority's Citizens Advisory Committee, the Midtown Residents Association and WizChinese, a nonprofit that supports the city's Chinese community.

Lee is vying for one of four seats that will be up for grabs in November. Three incumbent council members — Mayor Adrian Fine, Councilwoman Lydia Kou and Councilman Greg Tanaka — are all eligible for fresh terms. Kou has declared her intention to seek a fresh term. Councilwoman Liz Kniss is terming out at the end of the year.

Other candidates in the race are former Mayor Pat Burt, attorney Rebecca Eisenberg, teacher Greer Stone; and Planning and Transportation Commission Chair Cari Templeton and planning Commissioner Ed Lauing.

Comments

Welcome Steven
Downtown North
on Jul 21, 2020 at 10:08 pm
Welcome Steven, Downtown North
on Jul 21, 2020 at 10:08 pm
13 people like this

Welcome Steven to the race. Happy to have a challenge who doesn't represent more of the same. I agree with a lot of what Steven Lee has to say and look forward to learning more about the changes he'll push for. Might not agree with every opinion he has, but I like that he's willing to take a stand and challenge an unjust status quo.


Barb Jaarsma
Palo Verde
on Jul 21, 2020 at 10:16 pm
Barb Jaarsma, Palo Verde
on Jul 21, 2020 at 10:16 pm
11 people like this

This is literally the best news I've heard in forever! Steven Lee is a kick-ass progressive Democrat who's not afraid to dig into tough problems and find workable solutions. I've really admired his work over the years, and he already has my vote!

There's hope for Palo Alto yet!


Jerry Underdal
Barron Park
on Jul 21, 2020 at 10:36 pm
Jerry Underdal, Barron Park
on Jul 21, 2020 at 10:36 pm
12 people like this

Gennady Sheyner's article makes a strong case for my opinion that Steven Lee would be a good choice to serve on the city council. He has shown tireless energy as a member of the Human Rights Commission in engaging Palo Alto with quality of civic life issues, such as gender equity, inter-ethnic understanding, racial equality and maintaining a social safety net, that have not been adequately addressed till now. That energy and commitment to the common good suggests that as a council member he would move discussion of perennially challenging topics such as traffic, residential density, office construction and the like in new directions. As the article makes clear, Steven Lee is up to speed on the issues Palo Alto has been dealing with for years and is eager to work with those with different perspectives to identify ways to make progress on them in the altered context of the post-Trump, post-pandemic era.


Preschool Teacher
Crescent Park
on Jul 21, 2020 at 10:45 pm
Preschool Teacher, Crescent Park
on Jul 21, 2020 at 10:45 pm
10 people like this

So excited to have Steven joining the race. Steven has been fighting for regular Palo Altans since arriving in our community. He has a heart of pure gold!


Ryan
Midtown
on Jul 21, 2020 at 10:58 pm
Ryan, Midtown
on Jul 21, 2020 at 10:58 pm
10 people like this

I can’t wait to vote for Steven in November! As a renter and advocate for a more inclusive and equitable Palo Alto, Steven will be a great addition to the Council.

You can learn more about him and his campaign at Web Link


Ha ha ha
Mountain View
on Jul 21, 2020 at 11:03 pm
Ha ha ha, Mountain View
on Jul 21, 2020 at 11:03 pm
9 people like this

Reap what you sow!


Dan
Midtown
on Jul 21, 2020 at 11:17 pm
Dan, Midtown
on Jul 21, 2020 at 11:17 pm
37 people like this

He would be a terrible choice for city council ... all agenda and no interest in the practical matter of day-to-day successfully running a city.


Steven has my vote!
Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 22, 2020 at 12:16 am
Steven has my vote!, Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 22, 2020 at 12:16 am
6 people like this

Steven embodies everything we need in this moment: we need someone with a strong moral compass, who says what is on their mind and fights for our most vulnerable.

If you contact any person Steven has advocated for, you will be inundated with stories of how his perseverance and courage gave many people hope. Steven is an excellent lawyer, knows how to handle complicated issues, and is always willing to listen to both sides.

Steven DOES listen. He will listen to your reasons, your opinions and will adjust his perspective accordingly. He will work with you to find solutions, but he will never stop advocating for any person who is suffering in our city.

[Portion removed.]


Human
Palo Verde
on Jul 22, 2020 at 12:34 am
Human, Palo Verde
on Jul 22, 2020 at 12:34 am
10 people like this

Great article! Congratulations, Steven! I'm wishing you luck! Good job not letting them sweep the Downtown Streets situation under the rug. People need to be held accountable.


Jamila Anwar
Meadow Park
on Jul 22, 2020 at 3:46 am
Jamila Anwar, Meadow Park
on Jul 22, 2020 at 3:46 am
40 people like this


Another build baby build YIMBY who believes trickle down housing will solve the problem.

Steven was a Cory Wolbach supporter and like Cari Templeton, Adrian Fine and Alison Cormack wants Foothill Parks to be open to the region. Trampling and destroying one of Palo Alto’s last preserves and natural resource. Calling those who oppose opening the preserve a racist.


Granny B
Midtown
on Jul 22, 2020 at 4:31 am
Granny B, Midtown
on Jul 22, 2020 at 4:31 am
4 people like this

So glad Steven is running! Palo Alto needs to change and I think that many people agree with what he stands for...we need to be represented. Open Foothills Park!


Jessica Clark
Charleston Meadows
on Jul 22, 2020 at 7:11 am
Jessica Clark, Charleston Meadows
on Jul 22, 2020 at 7:11 am
6 people like this

Yes! I was hoping Steven would run! His past work on the HRC has shown me he truly cares about all people in this community. He is the bold voice we need on council to make swift and necessary changes in our City. He has my full support and vote!


Kathy
Greater Miranda
on Jul 22, 2020 at 8:05 am
Kathy, Greater Miranda
on Jul 22, 2020 at 8:05 am
39 people like this

For someone claiming to be sensitive to diversity and human rights, Steven Lee defended Rebecca Parker Mankey when she verbally abused and attacked a man wearing a MAGA hat at a Calif Ave Starbucks. She threatened to dox the man. Apparently Steven Lee defends the human rights of those he agrees with.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2020 at 8:25 am
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2020 at 8:25 am
15 people like this

I always thank those who are willing to put themselves forward, in the public eye, to be willing to serve in a public forum, so thank you for that.

However, I am concerned about "progressive" government and what that could mean. This term of progressive is thrown about and is either not well defined or is defined in different ways by different people to send whatever type of message they either like or dislike.

To what direction are we "progressing" with Steven and is this something that we want?

I look forward to hearing specifically as to what he will do for residents who are already living in Palo Alto to make our lives and amenities a priority over those who don't. Infrastructure for residents has been hit lately with losing shuttles and VTA service. We need specific ways in which to do this.


Steven Without Borders
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2020 at 9:03 am
Steven Without Borders, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2020 at 9:03 am
48 people like this

[Portion removed.]

On the HRC he drove other Commissioners to tears, as he did a representative from a local mediation non-profit. A Commissioner quit due to his behavior. Its documented on HRC meeting videos you may watch at its website.

Then in his recent Op-Ed in the PA Weekly he maintained that the city council decision reducing HRC Commissioners from 7 to 5 was a conspiracy to get rid of him. He didn’t mention that the Art Commission was similarly reduced to 5 by the city council, and the Library Advisory Commission was eliminated. He also didn’t mention that though his term had run out, he could apply for another term - the search for a replacement is on-going.

His characterization in his Op-Ed to our community was dishonest, paranoid, and totally self-serving.

That he espouses good values is fine, but his treatment at times of colleagues and the public is way out of line, has had a disproportionate effect on woman, is never acceptable, and has no place on our city council.



Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 22, 2020 at 10:05 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 22, 2020 at 10:05 am
28 people like this

I have a problem with how the press has been used in his desire to be on the PACC. They have given him a lot of press. In one oped he was teaming with Josh Becker on how to move the economy forward. That assumes that Josh Becker and he win their elective positions.

Note that Josh Becker wrote an opinion piece for the SJM that he and Silicon Valley should direct climate change for the world. That is a post WW2 approach that does not recognize we are in 2020 and the European Union has total control over the countries in it's control - their business and forward planning. The EU is all over the front pages now on it's lack of funds to support it's countries in the current epidemic. They are not interested in the US interfering with their business - except giving them money.

His take on FHP as us - the city being racist. Do you all get really tired of us - the city being called racist? My position is that the people that throw that term around are the people who are racist. The problem with his approach is that it is a political topic of the day - it is not a working approach to land management. If you open the park to unlimited people you will end up with a total mess that will cost us a lot more budget to manage. There is no comprehension of cause and effect - just political positioning. Policial positioning of course is the topic of the day but you have to live with the results.


Me 2
Old Palo Alto
on Jul 22, 2020 at 10:17 am
Me 2, Old Palo Alto
on Jul 22, 2020 at 10:17 am
37 people like this

Sorry. That Op-Ed he did was ridiculous. That turned me cold.

After the facts came out, it's clear that he's a politician-wanna-be who's all about himself. Just what we need - someone running for city council who's looking to use it as a stepping stone to something bigger and not representing residents.

Clearly a person who lets his self-righteousness get the better of him. Also needs better campaign PR advice.


No way!
Midtown
on Jul 22, 2020 at 10:30 am
No way! , Midtown
on Jul 22, 2020 at 10:30 am
39 people like this

There is no way I'm voting for Steven Lee. I have followed Steven's antics on the HRC for the last few years and I have been disgusted by the way he treats his colleagues and the public. He has brought members to tears, forced others off the commission because they were exhausted with his antics, and he has been completely ineffective as a commissioner. In addition, he does not have the necessary experience to hold this office. He has only lived in the city for a few years, has never held a leadership position within the city, and those who know him best have chosen to not support him (his fellow commissioners chose not to vote him in as chair and city council chose not to reappoint him to the commission). It is clear Steven is using this council run as one last opportunity to stay relevant in this city. No way!


Dela
University South
on Jul 22, 2020 at 12:27 pm
Dela, University South
on Jul 22, 2020 at 12:27 pm
45 people like this

Sigh. Cue the outrage politics. The LAST thing the city needs right now is a MORE polarized council. Lee's op-ed in which he accuses the council of eliminating "his" HRC seat was indignant and accusatory. I'm all for fiery community activism but as a means to an end, not a thinly-veiled excuse to manufacture a burning platform for launching a political campaign.


Relevant experience needed.
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2020 at 1:27 pm
Relevant experience needed., Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 22, 2020 at 1:27 pm
4 people like this

I really appreciate Mr. Lee's good work on the HRC, but I don't view that committee as a good preparation for Council.

Council Members must be prepared to work with staff to create, review and approve extremely complex budgets and make hard choices. They also have to analyze traffic data, understand the ins and outs of zoning and municipal code and make difficult decisions on complex development issues. A strong aptitude for very complex data analysis is important. They need in-depth understanding of land use and transportation policies and comprehensive planning, and we don't want them learning those skills on the job. Council members also have to make data-driven decisions on utilities. I think Mr. Lee needs at least a couple of years on one or two commissions where he can gain relevant experience in these critically important areas. Planning & Transportation Commission is the best training ground for Council Members.

He seems like a nice guy with very good intentions, but he won't get my vote until he demonstrates the knowledge and skills that make a good Council member. That can't happen at HRC.

We have had so much staff turnover at city hall in recent years, we need more experienced Council members. Very few staff carry historical knowledge any more. The city also uses a lot of consultants who bring a narrow project-focused approach that doesn't consider the big picture and often overlooks Comp Plan directives. Many of them seem uninterested in investigating prior history on projects they are working on. They also seem not to understand or appreciate the benefits of public process. They end up giving bad advice to Council Members. We need excellent critical thinkers who have experience with complex city budgets, land use and transportation and utilities. These will be the challenges for the next City Council, especially with Covid.

So far, only Pat Burt has my vote. The field looks short on experience and aptitude for me. They are going to have to EARN my vote by learning a lot and making an excellent showing in upcoming forums. Sitting Council Members have been a disappointment, including the latest, CM Cormack who seems to prepare well and appears bright, but also doesn't demonstrate critical thinking by identifying and challenging erroneous assumptions in staff reports. She seems to rubber stamp staff's recommendations.

We need stronger candidates.


Patti Regehr
Palo Verde
on Jul 22, 2020 at 1:44 pm
Patti Regehr, Palo Verde
on Jul 22, 2020 at 1:44 pm
11 people like this

To be a community leader and a good city council member, a person must listen, ask pertinent questions, and work effectively, efficiently, passionately, professionally, skillfully, and compassionately.

Steven Lee is that person. Long before I was appointed to the Palo Alto Human Relations Commission (HRC), I became aware of the HRC because of the community work Steven Lee was doing. I watched videos of almost all the HRC meeting recordings before I decided to apply to be a Commissioner. Although I don’t always agree with Steven, he is there for the community. The community is Steven’s team and I too am on that team. We all are.

Steven works hard and has always been courteous and professional, even when he disagrees or has serious concerns about an issue or an organization. I urge everyone to do their own research before spreading false narratives about Steven or anyone else.

There have been accusations that Steven brought someone to “tears” during a 2018 HRC meeting. Fortunately, that encounter was recorded and you can watch it yourself at Web Link. What you’ll see is that both Steven and fellow HRC Commissioner (and now chair) Pastor Kaloma Smith, were asking the Palo Alto Mediation Program co-chairs to provide more demographic information about mediators to ensure inclusion. Both Steven and Pastor Smith were extremely polite and professional but near the end of the discussion – long after Steven had last spoken, a person from the Mediation Program had an emotional reaction to the broader situation of having being asked to provide more information. This reaction followed a comment by Pastor Smith – who was also polite and professional, just like Steven. Please watch this video and, if you want to see what happened immediately before the emotional reaction, fast forward to 1:08 where you will see Pastor Smith’s comment and the person’s emotional response.

You can watch the relevant portion of the meeting at this link: Web Link
Fast forward to 1:08 to see the emotional reaction and what happened immediately before. But if you have time, watch the entire video to see how professional and courteous Steven was during this encounter as he has been in all the meetings I've seen him in.

Patti Regehr
Member of Palo Alto Human Relations Commission (my views are my own and not necessarily those of the Commission or other members)





Yael
Charleston Meadows
on Jul 22, 2020 at 1:59 pm
Yael, Charleston Meadows
on Jul 22, 2020 at 1:59 pm
4 people like this

You dont have to be living in a community all your life to be invested in making your community a better place, while Steven is still young, he has already shown a commitment to advocating for the sometimes forgotten voices in our community while on the HRC council. As a parent of a child with a disability, I have been met with a woeful lack of conscious accessibility in our community resources. Steven was the first person that I felt listened to our voices and worked to bring them forward with his colleagues in the HRC and to start raising awareness and changes to better serve ALL of Palo Alto. I have found him to be a thoughtful and hardworking advocate for us and many others in Palo Alto


Y.L
Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 22, 2020 at 3:07 pm
Y.L, Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 22, 2020 at 3:07 pm
13 people like this

I will never vote for Steven Lee. I have only seen some of Steven's communication on the HRC and towards the Asian community here in our city and I have been disgusted by the way he treats people who may hold different opinions. Not a team player, nor a team builder, but a dictator.


PA parent
Barron Park
on Jul 22, 2020 at 3:40 pm
PA parent, Barron Park
on Jul 22, 2020 at 3:40 pm
11 people like this

There is a comment under the article titled “Message from our publisher: an appeal for your support of good journalism” saying, “Why should I support a politically one-sided newspaper who heavily censors opposing comments?” That comment received 86 likes. Where is freedom of speech? Can PAO please stop heavily censoring their comment section? There are no disrespectful attacks on other posters, so stop using that as an excuse.
 
BTW, Steven Lee absolutely gets more than his fair share of press coverage, and the quick deleting of opposing comments shows PAO’s stand. PAO, please have journalistic integrity and don’t take sides politically. Then, you will have our support.   


Anonymous
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 22, 2020 at 4:47 pm
Anonymous, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 22, 2020 at 4:47 pm
18 people like this

I don’t agree with his attitude and some of his positions and I will not vite for him. There are better, more coherent and experienced candidates running.


Greenacres
Green Acres
on Jul 22, 2020 at 8:04 pm
Greenacres, Green Acres
on Jul 22, 2020 at 8:04 pm
14 people like this

@Steven,
I like a lot of what I'm reading, but I'm afraid SB50 will be a litmus test for me. I don't think anyone can be for the poor/ordinary citizens and be for a mindless Trojan Horse developer giveaway like that.

I hope the Weekly will ask all the candidates where they stand on SB 50. It will make narrowing down the field easy for a lot of us.


Rebecca Eisenberg
Old Palo Alto
on Jul 23, 2020 at 2:58 pm
Rebecca Eisenberg, Old Palo Alto
on Jul 23, 2020 at 2:58 pm
2 people like this

I warmly welcome my good friend Steven Lee to the Palo Alto City Council race. Steven, I look forward to continuing to work together on issues of justice, accountability, housing, transparency, police reform, sex equality, LGBTQIA+, sustainability, and social justice. There are four seats up for grabs on City Council this November, and if we fill them with four fresh, progressive voices, positive change in Palo Alto will be well within reach!


E. Gad
Fairmeadow
on Jul 23, 2020 at 5:58 pm
E. Gad, Fairmeadow
on Jul 23, 2020 at 5:58 pm
5 people like this

Mr Lee lacks common sense and restraint. For example both he and Gabe Kralick's terms have expired on the HRC. My Kralick had the good sense to stop going to meeting. Steven is hanging on to an expired seat, with no one willing to stand up to him and tell him his term is already over.

He badgers anyone who disagrees with him and doesn't work well with others


Mark Weiss
Downtown North
on Jul 25, 2020 at 12:59 am
Mark Weiss, Downtown North
on Jul 25, 2020 at 12:59 am
1 person likes this

I agree with @Kathy that Lee’s praise for Mankey is troubling. I wrote him about it and got a dismissive response. I’ve written to him several times about anti-Semitism and gotten no response.
In that context, I’ve noted several other problems with his aspiration for leadership here.
To me the group selfie photo on his website reveals him as an opportunist and narcissist.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 25, 2020 at 10:09 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 25, 2020 at 10:09 am
4 people like this

So we have some clues here - a bunch of "lawyers" who are now focused on PA - the city. As to Raven - she comes from San Diego. Tony Atkins - CA legislator is in that area - so this appears to be part of the Weiner mob. This has nothing to do with BLM. This had to be in the works for a while. Again - the city has a target on it's back.
Another clue I was unaware of - there was a legislative action at the Obama federal level that allows city to remove property zoning. DT just signed a directive and that is now gone. Another clue - the new head of the SVLG lives in Menlo Park. That means we are in the "zone / bubble" of "progressive" development. Translation we will have no zoning if they can help it. But how does that work if there is no train to move people around? We are starting to look more like Portland Oregon and Berkley.
BLM has nothing to do with this issue so please do not use that as a leverage wedge in any debates.


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