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Lisa Forssell makes it official. She is running for Palo Alto City Council

Utilities Advisory commissioner looks to fill one of three open seats

Lisa Forssell, who has spent the past six years on the city's Utilities Advisory Commission, announced Monday that she is preparing to make the leap to the City Council.

Lisa Forssell announced her bid for the Palo Alto City Council on July 18, 2022. Courtesy Lisa Forssell.

Forssell, a former manager at Pixar Animation Studios who currently works as a producer in the design studio at Apple, is seeking to occupy one of three council seats up for grabs in November. She has already secured endorsements from Mayor Pat Burt, former Mayor Larry Klein and council member Alison Cormack, who is stepping down at the end of the year after opting not to seek a second term.

Council members Tom DuBois and Eric Filseth also will be leaving the seven-member council, with each terming out after eight years of service.

Forssell said in the announcement that she is "honored to have the support of a wide array of local leaders" in her bid for council. If elected, she will help implement many of the initiatives that she had worked on as a member and past chair of the utilities commission, including the city's conversion to smart meters, the expansion to the dark fiber network, an upgrade of the city's electric grid and Palo Alto's ambitious effort to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2030, with 1990 as the baseline.

"I know the power that local government has to effect change that matters. I am running because I want our city to be sustainable, affordable, and welcoming for all," Forssell said. "As a Palo Alto council member, I will dedicate myself to making our city a place where all generations thrive."

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In endorsing her candidacy, Burt said the city needs "thoughtful, informed problem solvers who are focused on serving our community."

"Lisa has an exceptional business and environmental background along with having led our important Utilities Commission," Burt said in the announcement. "We need her experience and leadership in addressing our housing, climate protection, and transportation challenges."

With the announcement, Forssell became the third candidate to formally declare her intention to seek a council seat, joining Planning and Transportation Commission Chair Ed Lauing and Hope Lancero, a medical researcher at Stanford.

Two other residents — author and educator Julie Lythcott-Haims and real estate agent Alex Comsa — have filed paperwork that indicate they are exploring a council run though neither has formally announced their intention to do so.

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Gennady Sheyner
 
Gennady Sheyner covers the City Hall beat in Palo Alto as well as regional politics, with a special focus on housing and transportation. Before joining the Palo Alto Weekly/PaloAltoOnline.com in 2008, he covered breaking news and local politics for the Waterbury Republican-American, a daily newspaper in Connecticut. Read more >>

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Lisa Forssell makes it official. She is running for Palo Alto City Council

Utilities Advisory commissioner looks to fill one of three open seats

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Mon, Jul 18, 2022, 9:57 am

Lisa Forssell, who has spent the past six years on the city's Utilities Advisory Commission, announced Monday that she is preparing to make the leap to the City Council.

Forssell, a former manager at Pixar Animation Studios who currently works as a producer in the design studio at Apple, is seeking to occupy one of three council seats up for grabs in November. She has already secured endorsements from Mayor Pat Burt, former Mayor Larry Klein and council member Alison Cormack, who is stepping down at the end of the year after opting not to seek a second term.

Council members Tom DuBois and Eric Filseth also will be leaving the seven-member council, with each terming out after eight years of service.

Forssell said in the announcement that she is "honored to have the support of a wide array of local leaders" in her bid for council. If elected, she will help implement many of the initiatives that she had worked on as a member and past chair of the utilities commission, including the city's conversion to smart meters, the expansion to the dark fiber network, an upgrade of the city's electric grid and Palo Alto's ambitious effort to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2030, with 1990 as the baseline.

"I know the power that local government has to effect change that matters. I am running because I want our city to be sustainable, affordable, and welcoming for all," Forssell said. "As a Palo Alto council member, I will dedicate myself to making our city a place where all generations thrive."

In endorsing her candidacy, Burt said the city needs "thoughtful, informed problem solvers who are focused on serving our community."

"Lisa has an exceptional business and environmental background along with having led our important Utilities Commission," Burt said in the announcement. "We need her experience and leadership in addressing our housing, climate protection, and transportation challenges."

With the announcement, Forssell became the third candidate to formally declare her intention to seek a council seat, joining Planning and Transportation Commission Chair Ed Lauing and Hope Lancero, a medical researcher at Stanford.

Two other residents — author and educator Julie Lythcott-Haims and real estate agent Alex Comsa — have filed paperwork that indicate they are exploring a council run though neither has formally announced their intention to do so.

Comments

Reid
Registered user
Midtown
on Jul 18, 2022 at 11:56 am
Reid, Midtown
Registered user
on Jul 18, 2022 at 11:56 am

I'm very excited to see Lisa running for city council. She has experience from the UAC, and endorsements from a variety of current and former council members. I think she has what Palo Alto needs -- a positive vision for the future, some ideas for how to get there, and a willingness to work with stakeholders with different perspectives. As a father with a two year old, I'm particularly interested in making Palo Alto a place where all generations thrive. I encourage you to visit her campaign website at Web Link .


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 18, 2022 at 12:11 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Jul 18, 2022 at 12:11 pm

Thanks for the link to her web site and her endorsements Web Link which I always check as the most important indicator of a candidate's positions and priorities.

From her list of backers that she's clearly in the pro-development camp which conflicts with her support of more traffic calming as well as more city spending as per her support of the city's fiber network at a time when there's already enough competition from private industry AND the state's announced plan to develop its own network.

Given her tenure on the Utilities Commission, she should be aware that the city has NO expertise in running a competitive network or providing customer service for one.

I'd also ask what she's done to rein in CPAU's water rate hikes now that Palo Alto's number one as in water costs as per today's blog. Web Link


Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 18, 2022 at 12:24 pm
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jul 18, 2022 at 12:24 pm

I always like to thank those who are willing to run for their time and interest.

I honestly don't think our utilities has been run well enough for my liking so it is hard to say that I am very enthusiastic, but of course willing to be open minded enough to be persuaded otherwise.


Anon123456
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 18, 2022 at 1:12 pm
Anon123456, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Jul 18, 2022 at 1:12 pm

I like how her website says "pulling together people with disparate views, skills, and backgrounds to find common ground and a path forward to a common goal". We need that creativity to provide housing and manage traffic. I would hope those are not mutually exclusive goals. Other cities have managed by developing near transit hubs, building infra for walking/biking, increasing potential users so public transit is more financially viable, growing neighborhood businesses so less driving to run errands, building neighborhood amenities so less need to drive for entertainment, etc. With many employers committing to supporting long-term hybrid/remote work, this seems like a good time to re-examine our assumptions of what is possible.


mjh
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jul 18, 2022 at 1:36 pm
mjh, College Terrace
Registered user
on Jul 18, 2022 at 1:36 pm

When I see endorsements from real estate attorneys who have expertise in and benefit from commercial real estate transactions and development this raises a red flag as to who would benefit from a particular candidate serving on council. Especially anyone who has served on council who, when there is a choice, has prioritized the financial interests of those who do not live in Palo Alto.


Jeff Hoel
Registered user
Midtown
on Jul 19, 2022 at 3:30 pm
Jeff Hoel, Midtown
Registered user
on Jul 19, 2022 at 3:30 pm

@Online Name: FCC Chairman Rosenworcel is proposing to raise the definition of "broadband" from 25/3 Mbps to 100/20 Mbps. Web Link Most Palo Alto premises don't have a choice of 100/20 Mbps wired providers. Rosenworcel is also proposing a national goal of 1000/500 Mbps. Most Palo Alto premises can't get this from any wired providers.

California is planning to pay $3.2 billion for an open access middle-mile fiber network, called GoldenStateNet, to connect "unserved and underserved communities" to the internet. Web Link But Palo Alto doesn't qualify. See map (page 20 here). Web Link Anyhow, Palo Alto already has access to a middle-mile network capable of supporting the last-mile fiber to the premises (FTTP) network the City is considering building.

According to MuniNetworks, there are 343 municipal FTTP networks, as of September 2021. Web Link Most of these municipalities had no "expertise in running a competitive network or providing customer service for one" before they started.


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