News

In Palo Alto City Council race, it's anybody's game

No incumbents are seeking reelection, leaving 7 candidates to vie for spots on the council

Seven Palo Alto residents have jumped into the race to replace City Council members Tom DuBois and Eric Filseth, who are terming out, and Alison Cormack, who has opted not to run for a fresh term.

But even though none of the seven candidates — Alex Comsa, Lisa Forssell, Brian Hamachek, Ed Lauing, Julie Lythcott-Haims, Doria Summa and Vicki Veenker — has served on the council before, each has argued that their experience makes them well-suited for this era of change. Newly elected council members will have to wrestle with finding room for more than 6,000 new dwellings, making final decisions on the designs of the rail crossings and taking bold action on climate change to reduce city emissions by 80% by 2030.

Here's what you need to know about the candidates and where they stand on four key issues.

The Palo Alto Weekly's endorsements of three candidates for City Council are published here.

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Infographics by Kevin Legnon, Linda Taaffe and Zoe Morgan

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 >>

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

In Palo Alto City Council race, it's anybody's game

No incumbents are seeking reelection, leaving 7 candidates to vie for spots on the council

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Fri, Sep 30, 2022, 8:44 am

Seven Palo Alto residents have jumped into the race to replace City Council members Tom DuBois and Eric Filseth, who are terming out, and Alison Cormack, who has opted not to run for a fresh term.

But even though none of the seven candidates — Alex Comsa, Lisa Forssell, Brian Hamachek, Ed Lauing, Julie Lythcott-Haims, Doria Summa and Vicki Veenker — has served on the council before, each has argued that their experience makes them well-suited for this era of change. Newly elected council members will have to wrestle with finding room for more than 6,000 new dwellings, making final decisions on the designs of the rail crossings and taking bold action on climate change to reduce city emissions by 80% by 2030.

Here's what you need to know about the candidates and where they stand on four key issues.

The Palo Alto Weekly's endorsements of three candidates for City Council are published here.

Infographics by Kevin Legnon, Linda Taaffe and Zoe Morgan

Comments

Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 30, 2022 at 10:31 am
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Sep 30, 2022 at 10:31 am

Thank you for this very clear graphic, it is a great help.

I won't comment on my choices or views but this will help me and I think many others. I hope that this race won't turn as nasty as the school board race and I don't want to be classed as being negative about any candidate. I respect and thank them all for their willingness to serve.


Observer
Registered user
Midtown
on Sep 30, 2022 at 1:52 pm
Observer, Midtown
Registered user
on Sep 30, 2022 at 1:52 pm

I like reading about some of these big visions as well as from the more practical candidates who have the experience to know where the rubber meets the road aka how to get things done. I'll be voting for a couple of proven leaders as well as one of the visionaries to keep everyone inspired and on their toes.

Palo Alto is lucky to have so many accomplished people running for city council. I hope the ones who do not prevail will stick around on commissions and try again in two years.


Native to the BAY
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Sep 30, 2022 at 8:38 pm
Native to the BAY, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Sep 30, 2022 at 8:38 pm

@observer so life experience and who you know in and on the CC and commissions and boards is credential enough to serve a citizenry. I am backing Lythcott-Haims , Veeker, and Forsell! Why because 1) their, individual AND combined experience as leaders in community endeavors wins, BIG. Women are in trouble. The two who serve currently in City sanctioned commissions tow a line I am not going to buy. It’s exclusive club where sharing space is to push the “other” in far corners of our town. One in particular who headed thier neighborhood association for 14 years is really about walking off anyone encroaching on precious R1Zones. The other, believes in warehousing poor, elderly in pack and stack homes without any infrastructure in place beforehand. Current PTC has damaged forward thinking and planning by hauling projects and pandering to unrealistic ideals and goals. For example. Many of neighbors, I mean right across the road from College Terrace, are dis-allowed from participation in THIER neighborhood association. And guess what? It lower-income, working folk. This neighborhood association pushed away cluster, infill homes. What a sham and a shame. The stakes are high. We need strong, committed, democratic value action and supportive CC members who can work together. The experience spoken of is more like “connected nepotism, ladder climbers.” I am not feeling the vibe. Not at all. Maybe @Observer you mean “proven track record”? Well in my experience with thier track record, proves to me they are not right, ready for the job. Dramatic transition is necessary at this very moment. Perhaps it’s that your vote is for the home owner not for the renter, of which Veeker, Forsell and Lythcott-Haims support or maybe, three women who promote democratic values of equity, inclusivity, fairness and sharing in PA citizenry is one too many. These three women are action oriented and bring ton of proven work to the Dias.


Native to the BAY
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Sep 30, 2022 at 8:56 pm
Native to the BAY, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Sep 30, 2022 at 8:56 pm

[Post removed; successive comments by same poster are not permitted.]


resident3
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 30, 2022 at 9:23 pm
resident3, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Sep 30, 2022 at 9:23 pm

@Native to the Bay,

"I am voting for all of the candidates who are addressing a trifecta of issues. Not to wall off the poor who serve to support the rich, who do the back breaking work to sustain the private properties here"

From many Judith L Haims signs in Old Palo Alto (and the big money raised by the slate of 3), must be that their supporters can feel the pain of all the day laborers because they employ so many?


Local Resident
Registered user
Community Center
on Oct 1, 2022 at 10:19 am
Local Resident, Community Center
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2022 at 10:19 am

Julie supports building apartment buildings in single family neighborhoods next to your home. Julie and Lisa aren't sure if putting a cell tower 20 feet from your bedroom is a bad idea.


Native to the BAY
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Oct 1, 2022 at 2:57 pm
Native to the BAY, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Oct 1, 2022 at 2:57 pm

@local resident. And please share w readers why putting cluster homes near SFH owners is bad?? Please elaborate w examples and details.

As for WiFi in our own homes thummming away and our devices against our brains all day long, hmmm? No one seems to know how to switch it off for fear they might lose their Internet connection forever.


Ted Glasser
Registered user
St. Claire Gardens
on Oct 2, 2022 at 8:33 pm
Ted Glasser, St. Claire Gardens
Registered user
on Oct 2, 2022 at 8:33 pm

A Bronx cheer to the Palo Alto Weekly and Julie Lythcott-Haims for placing a campaign sticker on the newspaper’s cover. The cover features one photo of each of the seven candidates for the three openings on Palo Alto’s City Council — except for Ms. Lythcott-Haims, who appears twice (and whose advertisement partially block’s a competitor’s photo).


A Person
Registered user
Southgate
on Oct 3, 2022 at 10:27 am
A Person, Southgate
Registered user
on Oct 3, 2022 at 10:27 am

Thank god I just saw the graphic because the LAST thing we should do as a city is put housing in the Baylands. We need to fill in gaps, not expand our human industrial footprint into the actual bay.


CuriousNeighbor
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 3, 2022 at 12:43 pm
CuriousNeighbor, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Oct 3, 2022 at 12:43 pm

We definitely have more qualified candidates here than the school board but let’s don’t fall into the trap of those who do this for their own benefit. Is anybody checking what kind of business the realtor is in because he has not had any sales in months and then he talks about being an advisor for land use projects, but how many, where are those buildings? Can the Weekly ask which projects specifically? I don’t understand his line of business because I can’t find proof of him being a successful small business owner (he is with Coldwell Banker) since he does not seem to have closed recent residential sales either (maybe there are successful commercial projects?) and it’s confusing. The other candidates gave specific work examples, but not him. It’s important to know the background and expertise.


Native to the BAY
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Oct 3, 2022 at 12:48 pm
Native to the BAY, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Oct 3, 2022 at 12:48 pm

@A Person. Bravo to that! New York, Florida and Texas dealing w massive storms due to climate. Sitting council and HEWG crew are mum on climate calamities at ROLM/COM/Indus 4000 units of 100 % low-income homes at our Bay’s shore. Perhaps the idea for PAPTC, Arch Commission, CC, and AdHoc and PEWG (Parking Element Working Group) is to have these “unplanned community” homes serve as a two’fer. Housing used as Flood Wall and micro units for the poor. City want up it’s anti on disaster flood insurance now. Would insurers even insure such a site with such a vulnerable location? Future residents! You can soak up a bit of the excess sea water surge of storm water, with Costco Teri cloth towels and extra absorbent Brawny for pretty good price, if you have a membership. And heck. Costco is just a across the road of this “edge of nowhere” unanimous CC voted on future housing destination. Look a Petaluma East Side and Corona Road for examples of unmitigated flooding from unplanned for, storm surge. A mess and millions and millions to repair .


Native to the BAY
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Oct 6, 2022 at 11:18 pm
Native to the BAY, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Oct 6, 2022 at 11:18 pm

@ A Person. There’s many gaps, especially on Cambridge and along ECR between Page Mill and Charleston — blight now, full housing can be. So many gaps and gaping holes, ripe for good, quality infill. Low income, moderate income builds w retail, near solid transit options, schools. Kou- DuBois ad-hoc CC, Sabato, Alta are dancing around an ember fire pit for 1 acre of Fry’s site, while Sobrato gets their 14 acres of above market town homes. Sign the petition. Rent stabilization now! Avenidas senior sponsored, circulating! Look for it. Farmers Market etc. Make humans life priority, homes happen, living/thriving/integrating a source of inspiration. Yeah. 90 % perspiration . It takes elbow grease, not Internet made up, “golden” geese. Down w auto cad up with try innovation. The “old” fashioned way. Work, sweat, tears, joy!


Native to the BAY
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Oct 6, 2022 at 11:22 pm
Native to the BAY, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Oct 6, 2022 at 11:22 pm

@MyFeelz reading w interest (even as a novice) your link. I so wish I had the smarts to designer the “HUD Housing speak”. If only... I knew MyFeelz in a real’er sense . Not a pun. Just desire! To human, is now!!!


Gale Johnson
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 3, 2022 at 3:22 pm
Gale Johnson, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Nov 3, 2022 at 3:22 pm

@Native to the BAY: Get off the “woe for women” bandwagon. They’re doing very well, relatively speaking, but not in all areas of endeavor. Now hear my plight, and one shared by many older home owners. We struggled to save enough money to buy our house in a nice neighborhood in PA. Julie has her own story to tell about the difficulty she had in more recent times. Come and share a cup of coffee, or tea, and a croissant or scone. I will seat you in my living room and ask you to look out my floor to ceiling windows looking out to my brick patio (I put in every brick when I wore a younger man’s clothes) and beautiful flowers and shrubs., and not to be left out…my bird bath and bird feeders. Then I’ll ask you to raise your eyes and envision a 2 story 4 unit housing complex just a few feet away from my back fence. I’m not an artist but I hope I painted a good picture of what it would look like.


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