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Newsmakers of the Year: 2009

Original post made on Dec 27, 2009

The Palo Alto Weekly's Newsmakers of the Year have shaped and influenced Palo Alto's residents, and the city itself, in 2009.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, December 25, 2009, 12:00 AM

Comments (17)

Posted by Not-A-Fan
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 27, 2009 at 1:21 pm

Yoriko Kishimoto:

is not a transportation consultant/expert and has not published any original papers that demonstrate the value of High Speed Rail (HSR), on California, or Palo Alto.

is not a Petroleum Geologist and has published no papers that predict the end of fossil-fuels (petroleum) availability to the world requiring massive state-owned transportation systems to fulfill society’s needs for transportation.

is not an economist and has published no original papers (or studies) that demonstrate the economic impact of HSR on California and Palo Alto.

is not a land-use expert and has produced no original papers that demonstrate the impact of HSR on land values here in California and Palo Alto

Yoriko Kishimoto has shown in the past eight years of being a Palo Alto City Council Member, however, that she is nothing more than a rubber stamp for bad ideas.

Kishimoto should be retired by the voters, should she ever run for an elected office again.

Posted by Too Much Traffic
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 27, 2009 at 1:32 pm

Not-a-fan--nice post and right on. This fluff piece about Yoriko sounds like the PA Weekly is going to be her cheerleader for the Assembly race next year. The article forgot to mention her stance on HSR in 2008, when she encouraged the council and voters to support HSR and then her quick about-face once the you-know-what hit the fan. The article is a joke.

Posted by Also not a fan
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 27, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Do not forget her voting against jj&f and her ridiculous insistence on no new net car trips while supporting destination palo alto and the senior games. Anyway if she runs for assembly she will have to state her position on issues unlike in palo alto where all candidates parrot the same lines and avoid telling how they are different from other candidates

Posted by Cathi Anne
a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 30, 2009 at 9:28 am

I agree with all of you about Yoriko. She's all words. Little substance. And the Weekly needs to be careful about pushing those who are running for higher office.

Posted by John
a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 30, 2009 at 10:01 am

I think Yoriko has done a great job. I will vote for her again if she runs for something else.

Posted by Darwin
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 30, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Please stop enabling Bob Moss. Thanks.

Posted by Naysayers??
a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 30, 2009 at 6:38 pm

Interesting article. Tend to agree about the "coalition" stuff...

Question: Don't understand the "naysayers" title. Naysayer is a pretty negative connotation for people who voted for/supported what is left of our private business climate in Palo Alto.

Can someone explain the title Naysayer in anything but a negative light?

Me, I saw the vote as a gleam of light in these dismal times re: how people think about economics and the private sector.

Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 1, 2010 at 1:47 pm

If someone urged you to jump off a cliff, then ran to the bottom and organized a “coalition” to put you back together, would you give her an award for saving your life?

The Weekly named former Palo Alto mayor and state assembly hopeful, Yoriko Kishimoto, “coalition builder of the year” for her work uniting cities on high-speed rail.

“Kishimoto soaked up information, made connections … organized community meetings ... “

Too bad she didn’t do all that before writing the October 2008 colleagues memo (with Larry Klein), Request for the City Council to Support State Proposition 1A, urging all citizens to vote for HSR:
"Now, therefore be it resolved that the City Council of the City of Palo Alto does hereby declare support of Proposition 1A and urges all citizens to vote for such measure on November 4, 2008."

Kishimoto should have been better informed, especially since she was on the VTA board and the Dumbarton Rail Policy Committee.

Conveniently, after HSR’s negative impacts became apparent and peninsula residents were up in arms, Kishimoto ran to the head of the parade and declared herself its leader.

In February 2009, at a meeting of the VTA Congestion Management Program & Planning Committee, Chairwoman Kishimoto “noted it may be a good idea to release a Memorandum of Understanding among HSR affected cities … containing baseline common interests regarding HSR.” One of the common interests noted was “more time to review the plan.”

Why didn’t Kishimoto review the plan prior to urging us to vote for it?

There were certainly indications of problems. In September 2008—before Kishimoto wrote her colleagues memo—nearly 200 people showed up at the Menlo Park City Council Chambers, voicing concerns about HSR.

Why wasn’t Kishimoto uniting with other communities back then?

Now that she's running for state assembly, Kishimoto’s press -- thanks to “awards” like the Weekly’s -- paints her as the heroine of peninsula cities, lauded for her “leadership”.

If HSR is an example of Kishimoto’s leadership, heaven help us if she’s elected to the state assembly.

Posted by Too much traffic
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 1, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Pat--very well written post, which accurately sums up Yoriko's poltically motivated posturing on this issue. It is unfortunate that she does not take any responsibility for her stance in 2008 regarding HSR and instead is cynically exploiting the discontent over HSR to further her own political goals.
Pat asks "Why didn’t Kishimoto review the plan prior to urging us to vote for it?"--maybe she was busy taking part in photo-ops or was having a carbon footprint done on her home. My guess is that she had her green glasses on--and saw HSR as a means of relieving traffic. That is all that seems to matter to our "green" council members--if it will halp fight "climate change", they are all for it--without bothering to look at the plan in detail or look at it's long term cost.
These arethe same green glasses that Yoriko wears when she bashes Stanford and maintains, what she calls a city philosophy, but in reality is her pipe dream, that Stanford and other business entities not generate no new net car trips into Palo Alto. On the other hand, she supports destination Palo Alto and other events such as the Senior games and the Tour of Californiam which bring in more cars to the city. Clueless or hypocrite--draw your own conclusion.
I cannot wait until Monday's council meeting, when she will be showered with praise for her service to the city. Can anyone tell meone thing that she actually accomplished during her tenure?

Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 2, 2010 at 9:58 am

Too much traffic: You are so right about the hypocrisy.

On December 15, 2008 Kishimoto wrote another colleagues memo with Sid Espinosa and John Barton: “Request for Report on High Speed Rail Station in Palo Alto.”

Council thought it would be great to have the station here. But while touting the “greenness” of HSR, Kishimoto seemed to ignore the practicalities, e.g., increased traffic and parking for train passengers.

A San Jose Mercury article, September 9, 2008, says “she is excited about the possibility of a high-speed stop but would not want to see a big parking garage like the one in Millbrae."

Of course Kishimoto’s mentality is that everyone will walk or bike everywhere. This is the same mentality that our council applies to building high density housing. Without any data, they assume we will all live in the same city where we work, we will all bike or walk everywhere, we will all take public transit.

While preaching zero waste and zero new car trips, the council keeps approving development plans for new businesses and lots of housing. How do they fail to see the contradiction in that?

We certainly need to invigorate the business climate in the city. But those businesses inevitably mean more traffic.

Trader Joe’s brought in a lot more traffic, but I don’t recall the council telling them they had to provide housing for its workers.

Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 3, 2010 at 11:40 am

Web Link

Posted by Who is better?
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 3, 2010 at 11:52 am

Are you saying Barton or Morton or Drekmeier are more deserving of praise?
If you like the huge housing developments going up all over town, give them a big hand. Those three votes made it certain that the big and the ugly were all approved.

Posted by Also not a fan
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 3, 2010 at 2:27 pm

These self-congratulatory declarations are big things for our council-- after all they are always patting themselves on the back for a job well done. I am sure they will be also issueing proclamations for Morton, Barton and drekmier. But can anyone tell me what they really accomplished during their tenures?

Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 4, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Accomplishments are hard to find in the commendation documents. More typically, council members are praised for being members of some committee or being proponents or leaders vs. actually getting something done.

If anyone working for me ever turned in a monthly or quarterly report listing such “accomplishments,” they’d get a lesson on MEASURABLE goals. Apparently our city “leaders” have no clue about such things or the city wouldn’t be in such a mess.

You can read the commendations by following the links at Web Link


* Kishimoto: WHEREAS, Yoriko has always come to meetings well-prepared, paying great attention to detail as well as the big picture, and offering a wealth of institutional knowledge and insight.

* Drekmeier: WHEREAS, Peter, as the Chair of the Council, made sure all points of view had a fair hearing on every issue, welcoming and thanking every person who appeared before the Council and keeping a calm and light touch in tense situations by well-timed injections of humor, and the occasional bout of spontaneous singing, thereby making everyone in the Council Chambers comfortable in conducting the public’s business;

* Barton: WHEREAS, John has always been respectful of his colleagues’ time, speaking clearly, concisely and deliberately;

Am I the only one who finds these statements embarrassing? Since when do people get awards for just showing up?

Posted by Too Much Traffic
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 4, 2010 at 12:48 pm

"Am I the only one who finds these statements embarrassing?"

Yes these are embarrassing. They should read:

Kishimoto: WHERAS, Yoriko has paid lipservice to the notion of walkable neighborhoods, while Alma Plaza and Edgewood plaza lie derelict. Yoriko has whined about "no new net car trips" while supporting the Senior Games, Tour of California and Destination Palo Alto which brings in new traffic to the city.

Morton: WHEREAS, Jack has relentlessly bashed Stanford and has shamelessly derided those that dare to come and speak in it's support.

Drekmeier: WHEREAS, Peter has filtered everything through the green glasses that he always wears to the detriment of the city as a whole. Peter has also viewed Stanford as a cash cow to be milked whenever Stanford needs money

"Since when do people get awards for just showing up?"
That is Palo Alto policy. Remember the big bonuses awarded annually to managers in the city, with the support and encouragement of Larry Klein and our council. That is the PA way--big bonuses and commendations regardless of actual accomplishments

Posted by Deep Throat
a resident of another community
on Jan 4, 2010 at 1:53 pm

It is interesting that John Barton is being commended for "oversseing the hiring of our fabulous new City Manager".

I wonder how Barton feels about receiving a commendation that honors the City Manager as being "fabulous".

I wonder who wrote Barton's commendation. Was it Peter Drekmeier or City Manager Jim Keene?

Posted by Too Much Traffic
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 7, 2010 at 9:20 am

Pat--you should check out today's (Jan 7th) Daily Post--there is a response letter from Yoriko about the HSR issue. She writes plenty, but says nothing--especially no explanation for her support of HSR in November and her abrupt about face a couple of months later. Obviously she cannot admit that she had her green glasses on and was clueless about what HSR really meant for Palo Alto. She also signed her letter as "Palo Alto City council member".
She needs to be reminded that her term ended a week ago.

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