School board splits on whether and how to accept large anonymous donations
December 8, 2017 |
A new policy at the Palo Alto Unified is a clever attempt to appear to construct safeguards against improper influence of anonymous donors, but in fact would likely lead to rumors, suspicions and controversy.
Proposal rekindles old issues of housing, transportation and 'build-out'
December 1, 2017 |
The community is awakening to the need to carefully scrutinize Stanford's expansion plan to build another 2.275 million square feet of new academic facilities and 3,150 housing units.
Contributions to the Weekly's 25th Holiday Fund will be doubled
November 17, 2017 |
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The Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund, now in its 25th year, provides a grassroots opportunity for a community member to make a donation and know that it will combined with hundreds of others.
More than a decade in the making, updated long-range plan nears finish line
November 3, 2017 |
The vision document for city decisions over at least the next 12 years, now in its final phase of City Council review, is almost twice as good as the one it will replace.
Union pushes for civility policy for parent problems it won't quantify or detail
October 27, 2017 |
If the teachers' union truly believes abusive parent behavior is a problem, then it should come forward with a written proposal and evidence.
We voted overwhelmingly to legalize it, but ambivalent city officials still push back
October 20, 2017 |
In a community that passed Proposition 64, legalizing the recreational use of marijuana, city officials are recommending a policy that prohibits even a single highly regulated retail dispensary from operating here.
Why we're changing our policies on publishing the names of those arrested
October 13, 2017 |
We think the media has a responsibility to regularly look at the consequences of its editorial practices and to modify them as circumstances change.
School board must focus on prioritizing the district's critical needs
September 29, 2017 |
The school board now has an enormous opportunity to not only select the district's next leader but to examine what is organizationally needed to shift away from a culture of secretiveness.
New independent investigation reveals systemic failures, administrative disarray
September 22, 2017 |
Another disturbing portrait emerged this week of a school district still confused about its legal obligations in handling sexual-harassment complaints
School board members need to disclose their views on McGee's future
September 15, 2017 |
A round of public apologies Tuesday night by Palo Alto school board members and Superintendent Max McGee for a blunder that will cost the district approximately $6 million fell far short of what the community deserves.
Council's split over office cap will surely return as an election issue next year
September 8, 2017 |
The irony and hypocrisy of the city's office cap is that the same City Council majority that voted Tuesday to make more commercial development easier has been advocating repeatedly for more housing.
School superintendent's latest blunder is the final straw
September 1, 2017 |
The revelation that top Palo Alto school district administrators never took the necessary steps to reopen negotiations with the district's two unions is a shocking display of incompetence and negligence.
With dubious legal challenge, Brock Turner judge seeks to derail his recall election
August 18, 2017 |
Regardless of whether one believes Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky should be removed from office because of his past sentencing decisions in sexual assault cases, he won't be helped by his shady legal maneuver last week.
After years of struggle, mobile home park will quietly become publicly owned
August 11, 2017 |
In less than a month, Palo Alto's most well-known and debated housing for low-income families will be officially saved from closure and redevelopment.
FAA report raises hopes on airplane-noise reduction, but with a long and uncertain time table
August 4, 2017 |
A long-awaited Federal Aviation Administration response to recommendations made by a "select" committee of elected officials suggest an acknowledgment by the FAA that the South Bay's air traffic noise problems are real and can't be ignored.
Massive development proposal will only worsen housing, transportation problems
July 14, 2017 |
It's hard to imagine a better example of how messed up our region's planning processes and development policies are than Facebook's latest proposal.
Palo Alto stays the course on bold paradigm shift on parking and transportation
June 30, 2017 |
There is uniform agreement that transportation management needs to be the city's top priority. The new parking and trip-reduction measures being implemented are important steps forward.
Voters declared pot legal, but city officials seek to limit state law's impact — because they can
June 23, 2017 |
The community's strong support of Proposition 64 should prompt the city to actively work to implement the law rather than block it and to resolve any concerns as soon as possible.
Without a new approach, expansion plan may become a political Armageddon
June 16, 2017 |
Castilleja School is doggedly pursuing a major expansion plan that is alienating the very neighbors whose support it needs to head off a contentious community-wide controversy.
Updated school curriculum and process for adopting it draw fire
June 9, 2017 |
There are far too many important issues facing our school district than to go through the motions of a review process for 10 hours of sex-education curriculum.
School board faces critical leadership test over sexual assault revelations
May 26, 2017 |
Unfortunately, many parents still do not understand that the school district's obligation to investigate reports of sexual assault applies regardless of whether an incident was initially viewed as consensual or an assault.
As school board relents to parent pressure, a deeper look at school philosophy is needed
May 12, 2017 |
The Palo Alto school board succumbed Tuesday night to relentless pressure from a well-organized group and unanimously approved the reporting of weighted GPAs on the official high school transcripts of graduating seniors.
Bizarre and poorly conceived 'symbolic' proposals are wasting time and disrespecting the public process
May 5, 2017 |
The erratic behavior of three Palo Alto city council members is beginning to become a tiring pattern seemingly more designed to stir up controversy and stake out a political philosophy.
In the wake of a disturbingly chaotic presidency, two local initiatives seek to blunt its harm
April 28, 2017 |
President Donald Trump's first hundred days of the new administration comes to a close Saturday with an unprecedented 61 percent of Americans believing that the president is not trustworthy.
Nonprofit pulls out of school district mental health services bid process
April 14, 2017 |
A decision by Palo Alto Unified School District Superintendent Max McGee to seek formal competitive proposals for mental health services at its five secondary schools erupted in controversy this week as the district's current and longest-running partner announced it would not apply.
Palo Alto considers shifting to paid parking on downtown streets, lots and garages
April 7, 2017 |
Under a proposed downtown parking system, more short-term parking will become available as all-day parkers will have financial incentives to either find alternative ways of getting to work or migrate to less expensive parking garages.
Rushed implementation of the new residential permit-parking program will have both residents, employees in for some big surprises once enforcement begins
March 24, 2017 |
The city's voicemail box for questions is full and unable to take additional messages. Emailed questions go unanswered. A website is nearly impossible to navigate. A complicated and poorly explained process for getting permits leaves people confused and frustrated.
Admitting its January 'irrationality,' council backtracks on Comp Plan
March 24, 2017 |
Faced with a strong backlash from residents across Palo Alto's political spectrum and angry colleagues who felt disrespected, the City Council majority that had in January abruptly voted to remove the implementing programs from the draft revision to the Comprehensive Plan reversed course with a do-over Monday night.
State opens inquiries into Kniss and Tanaka campaign practices
March 17, 2017 |
State and federal campaign laws have long been rooted in the principle that the transparency of campaign contributions is the most effective way to discourage and expose special interests attempting to influence elections and public policy.
Well-intentioned campaign to rename Jordan, Terman has divided community
March 10, 2017 |
Over the past year a highly motivated group of Palo Alto parents has waged a campaign to rename Jordan and Terman middle schools because their namesakes, David Starr Jordan and Lewis Terman were proponents of eugenics.
A wet winter should help with passage of fee to continue important upgrades
March 3, 2017 |
A proposed increase to the stormwater maintenance fee is not onerous to improve the system and to reduce flooding risk, and it is appropriately borne by property owners.
It's finally time for school district to take responsibility for past missteps with OCR
February 24, 2017 |
The Palo Alto Board of Education will make two important decisions next Tuesday night, and both will say a lot about what kind of district we are and the values of our current five trustees.
Vibrant retail districts can't be achieved or maintained by ordinance alone
February 10, 2017 |
In an era of increasing challenges for small-business owners, creating successful retail environments has been shown to be more art than science.
In stunning surprise, new council majority upends planning process
February 3, 2017 |
The five members who make up the new, more development-friendly majority on the Palo Alto City Council blatantly stuck it to their four colleagues and the community Monday night with what appeared to be a carefully orchestrated take-over of the critical land-use portion of the new Comprehensive Plan.
New school board majority opts for more humble, collaborative course with Office for Civil Rights
January 27, 2017 |
It has taken two Palo Alto Board of Education elections and the replacement of four out of five trustees, a new Superintendent and a new law firm, but the majority of the school board is finally ready to lead us out of an expensive and unnecessary five-year battle with the federal Department of Education.
Proposed parking program for Cal Ave neighborhoods needs fine-tuning or it will fail
January 20, 2017 |
The debate over who should be entitled to park in residential neighborhoods adjacent to business districts will be renewed Monday night.
Prime city-owned parking lots should have been candidates for housing
December 9, 2016 |
Given Palo Alto's clear need for affordable housing, why is no one focusing on the most important relevant resource the city has: publicly owned surface parking lots in commercial districts close to public transportation?
Support local nonprofits through the 23rd annual Holiday Fund
December 2, 2016 |
Don't let the booming Silicon Valley technology-driven economy lull you into thinking that there isn't a continuing divide, even in the affluent Palo Alto area, between those riding high and the many families living on the edge or in need of social services.
The voters have spoken, but what have they said?
November 18, 2016 |
We can't let the results of the Palo Alto City Council and school board races stand without comment, as the impacts of this election are not without significance.
Read the Palo Alto Weekly's recommendations for the Nov. 8 ballot, including local races and state propositions.October 28, 2016 | 15 comments
In deciding whom to recommend in this year's City Council race we find ourselves in a dilemma similar to two years ago -- how to balance candidate knowledge and experience, views on issues, ability to work with others and ability to effectively articulate their positions and philosophy.October 21, 2016 | 105 comments
Read the Weekly's endorsements in the 2016 Board of Education race
October 14, 2016 |
We expect and need more than good intentions from our leaders, and we have the opportunity to put in place a board with better judgment. In short, we need new blood.
Funds for affordable housing, transportation need challenging two-thirds vote for passage
September 30, 2016 |
Two important measures on the Nov. 8 ballot ask Santa Clara County voters to approve a $950 million bond measure to build badly needed housing to serve homeless and low-income residents and a half-cent sales-tax increase to fund transportation projects over the next 30 years.
Palo Alto set to adopt quicker increase to $15, but restaurants protest inequities
September 23, 2016 |
There is no suspense about whether the Palo Alto City Council will approve a more expedited increase in the local minimum wage to $15 an hour when it meets Monday night, only how fast we want to reach that level.
Proposed high density apartment development aims for car-less young professionals
September 16, 2016 |
Some call it an innovative way to create needed housing that will become the wave of the future. Others call it inappropriate spot up-zoning that would cause severe parking impacts on the surrounding neighborhood, do nothing to create affordable housing and set a terrible precedent.
Hotly contested city and school elections await Palo Alto voters
August 19, 2016 |
Buckle your seatbelts. This fall's Palo Alto City Council and school board races are likely to be among the most substantive and consequential political races in recent history.
Time to change byzantine Palo Alto school-district pay-increase practice
August 5, 2016 |
It is troublesome enough that the powerful California teachers' union has achieved a system where performance doesn't matter and teachers all receive exactly the same pay and pay increase within a school district based only on their longevity and number of advanced degrees.
Development agreement provides goody bag of money, mitigations, studies
July 22, 2016 |
A diverse parade of nonprofit, union and civic leaders turned out Tuesday night to a meeting of the Menlo Park City Council to give their enthusiastic support for a development proposal that would eventually almost double the number of employees working at Facebook's growing campus in east Menlo Park.
Tax growth falls short of Palo Alto school district's projections
July 15, 2016 |
Less than a month after approving a budget that relied on an almost 9 percent increase in property-tax revenue for the coming year, the Palo Alto Unified School District has learned that the Santa Clara County Assessor is projecting an increase of just over 5 percent.
With the Palo Alto City Council and neighborhood in agreement, Maybell parcel is finally settled
July 1, 2016 |
Like many decisions that come after much community angst, Tuesday night's final approval of 16 single-family homes on a 2.5-acre parcel between Maybell Avenue and Arastradero Road at Clemo Avenue seemed anti-climactic and routine.
Proposed transportation tax on Palo Alto businesses doomed to fail if put on November ballot
June 24, 2016 |
Palo Alto City Council members are right to worry about political fall-out from the ever-worsening traffic congestion around town. But rushing an ill-considered tax measure in front of Palo Alto voters this November, at the same time a county transportation sales-tax measure will appear and without the support of the business community is a fool's errand.
With the county Housing Authority stepping up, preservation of Palo Alto mobile-home park now appears likely
June 17, 2016 |
Intense and persistent efforts over the last year by Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian to put together a financial plan and political strategy that could save the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park and preserve 117 units of badly needed low-income housing in Palo Alto have finally paid off.
Judge ignites firestorm with sentence that will allow Brock Turner out in just three months
June 10, 2016 |
Last week, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky used his sentencing powers to impose his own view of the Brock Turner sexual-assault case, overrule statutory sentencing guidelines and all but undo the work of the jury.
Our recommendations for state Assembly, state Senate, United States Congress, Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, state Proposition 50, Bay Area Measure AA, county Measure A and Ravenswood School District Measure H.May 27, 2016 | 5 comments
In opaque process, Palo Alto school trustees opt for large teacher, staff and administrator pay increases over other needs
May 20, 2016 |
The Palo Alto school board has spent months in what we now discover were two alternate realities, one taking place behind closed doors and another in public.
Patent attorney could bring fresh, important perspective to Sacramento
May 13, 2016 |
While the eight California Assembly District 24 candidates would each bring unique qualities and experience to the job, we believe three attorneys -- Mike Kasperzak, Marc Berman and Vicki Veenker -- are the clear standouts.
Palo Alto school district violates its own policy in depriving public of timely meeting minutes
May 6, 2016 |
The Palo Alto school board majority and Superintendent Max McGee have repeatedly demonstrated through their action and inaction that "transparency" is merely a talking point.
As Palo Alto's business registry enters its second year and with the recent release of some of the data compiled over the last year, it is clear the program needs help.April 29, 2016 | 16 comments
Neighbors clash over privacy and property rights
April 22, 2016 |
When should the City of Palo Alto forbid the construction of second-story additions in a neighborhood dominated by single-story homes?
County initiative attracts multiple concepts for in-patient adolescent facility
April 15, 2016 |
This week, the county released the four submissions it received, including a joint response from El Camino Hospital, Stanford's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and Kaiser Permanente that proposed opening an 18-bed facility at El Camino's Mountain View campus that would initially serve 12- to 17-year-olds, including those without insurance coverage and unable to pay.
With Brock Turner verdict, Stanford misses opportunity to teach and show compassion, humility and resolve
April 8, 2016 |
Last week, with an opportunity to use the Brock Turner conviction to bring home the life-changing consequences of illegal behavior and excessive alcohol consumption, Stanford University officials were sadly absent and the university silent.
Council and school board races this fall demand strong, fresh candidates
April 1, 2016 |
Unusual opportunities exist this fall for qualified and motivated newcomers to seek and win seats on the Palo Alto City Council and the Board of Education, and now is the time for them to step forward.
Big push for new housing development in Palo Alto belies economic realities
March 18, 2016 |
Palo Alto has become a community that is affordable only to those who have owned their homes for decades, inherited them or hold highly paid jobs. Or for the lucky few who made it to the top of a waiting list for subsidized units through the Palo Alto Housing Corporation.
New Palo Alto initiatives take aim at single-occupancy vehicle commutes
March 11, 2016 |
Ask any employer in Palo Alto, large or small, tech or restaurant, what its biggest business challenge is and you'll get the same two answers: the lack of local housing options affordable to its employees and the hellish commute experiences that result.
Unprecedented $17 million anonymous gift to Addison shows need for clearer policies
March 4, 2016 |
The Palo Alto school district lacks any policy on anonymous gifts or on major donations offered to an individual school, and these sensitive issues should have been immediately brought to the school board for discussion the moment the Addison Elementary School donor emerged, not after countless hours of work had already been invested in developing a plan for how the money would be spent.
Transportation issues highlight aspirational 'State of the City' speech
February 26, 2016 |
Six years ago, when then-Mayor Pat Burt delivered his first 'State of the City' address, he read from prepared remarks about a weak economy and a city government that was cutting budgets, reducing staff and asking for pay and benefit concessions, and he focused on the importance of tending to the city's infrastructure needs.
Solving downtown neighborhood parking problem requires patience, also in short supply
February 19, 2016 |
Just how far will downtown Palo Alto employees venture into surrounding neighborhoods in order to park free during the day? Five blocks? Eight? Ten? Those are among the many unanswered questions as the city is set to enter the second phase of a residential parking-permit system that feels to some residents like a game of Whac-A-Mole.
Palo Alto school board majority wisely rejects the allure of a new 'innovative' high school
January 29, 2016 |
Three of Palo Alto's five school board members courageously and emphatically said 'no' Tuesday night to initiating a months-long intensive study into the possible creation of an expensive new third high school at the old Cubberley High School site in south Palo Alto.
Plan to regulate home landscaping in Palo Alto wisely pruned back
January 24, 2016 |
A water conservation plan that appeared designed by bureaucrats for bureaucrats was wisely scaled back Tuesday night by a unanimous Palo Alto City Council.
Palo Alto should not be making money from selling development rights
January 22, 2016 |
A Palo Alto commercial property owner will soon buy from the City of Palo Alto the right to build a new building that is 2,500 square feet larger than the zoning allows.
Two openly competitive colleagues win council leadership positions
January 8, 2016 |
Two strong-willed former mayors, often at odds, strangely find themselves the new leadership team of a City Council divided by the election.
Reflections on Death, Suffering, and the Beauty in Hospice Care
By Aldis Petriceks | 6 comments | 4,161 views
The holidays are here!
From live music to a visit with Santa, here's a look at some local holiday activities to help you get into the spirit of the season.