CAP AND TIRADE ... A decision by four members of the Palo Alto City Council to repeal the long-standing downtown cap on non-residential development became official this week, when the council voted 4-3 to approve the zoning change on a "second reading." The step is typically a formality and, given the council's initial vote on Feb. 11 to repeal the cap, it was in some ways a foregone conclusion. Even so, several residents appealed to the council to reverse its earlier decision and restore the 350,000-square-foot cap. John Guislin, a Crescent Park resident who has long urged the council to do more to address downtown's traffic and parking problems, called the council's vote to repeal the downtown cap a "betrayal" and predicted that it will emerge as a key issue in the next council election (Vice Mayor Adrian Fine and Councilman Greg Tanaka, both of whom supported the cap repeal, will both be eligible for re-election in 2020). Greg Welch suggested that in repealing the cap, the council is ignoring the biggest concerns of its residents. "We're becoming an office park and we spend hundreds of thousands every year on polling the residents about their concerns. Loudly and clearly, they come back every year saying 'housing and traffic.' Lifting the cap will only exacerbate those concerns and do nothing to address them. The arguments did not sway the council members who voted to repeal the cap, with Alison Cormack and Liz Kniss joining Fine and Tanaka in moving the repeal along (Mayor Eric Filseth and council members Tom DuBois and Lydia Kou dissented).
SCHOOL OF THOUGHT ... Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg triggered a worldwide movement last August, when she began skipping school on Fridays to bring attention to global warming. Since then, her actions and her speeches have caught the attention and admiration of thousands of other students from across the globe, as well as environmentalists and politicians closer to home (U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders lauded in a tweet the December speech, in which the 16-year-old told the world, "You say you love your children above all else, yet you are stealing their futures right before their very eyes."). On March 15, her supporters from across the globe are preparing to follow Thunberg's example and stage a student strike. Palo Alto resident and environmentalist Jed Eddy wants to make sure his city isn't left behind in this international movement. This week, Eddy attended the City Council to thank members for adopting "climate change" as a 2019 priority and asked them whether they support Greta. Eddy also mentioned the March 15 student strike and urged council members to support the movement. "The message is that our generation isn't doing what has to be done," Eddy said. "With your leadership, let's keep going."
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