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Sid Espinosa will not seek second term on City Council

Original post made on Jul 12, 2012

After four years on the Palo Alto City Council, Sid Espinosa is preparing for the next chapter in his life. Espinosa, who in 2011 became the fourth youngest mayor in the city's history, announced today that he will not be seeking a second term.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, July 12, 2012, 1:57 PM

Comments (18)

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Posted by Nice
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Privelage has it's priveliges. Hmmm, I'm just exploring my options, after having leisured on the Council and figured out how to give away money...

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Posted by Carroll Harrington
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 12, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Sid is a fantastic council member and former Mayor. He has not missed a beat on any issue coming before the council, and as Mayor, and attended just about every event in town. His depth of knowledge and commitment are most admirable, as is his ability to communicate. Green gigabytes of gratitude to a great guy!

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Posted by Greg Scharff
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 12, 2012 at 4:13 pm

It has been a pleasure serving with you on Council Sid. You bring a thoughtful and balanced approach as well as great insight. We will definitely miss you next year. I wish we could change your mind! And I agree with Carroll, you are a fantastic council member, were a great Mayor and are a terrific person who I am honored to call my friend.

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Posted by Arlan
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 12, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Sid Espinosa is yet another outstanding individual who selflessly gives his time and considerable talents to help make our city better.

Thank you, Sid, for so ably representing our community. I am sorry you won't be running for a second term. I certainly would have voted for you.

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Posted by paloaltotreewatch
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Jul 12, 2012 at 4:50 pm

more trees have been removed under his watch
than in a very long time
shame on you

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Posted by Tax payer
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 12, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Sid has done a great job partnering with Canopy in order to preserve our urban forest. Soany old sick trees are being removed and new ones planted. This is he best way to keep our canopy healthy and thriving. Thank you Sid!

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Posted by paloaltotreewatch
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Jul 12, 2012 at 5:51 pm

older trees - not sick trees
are to be respected like senior citizens
and not removed due to higher maintenance costs
its called tradition
something this city actively
followed until the past five years
of current administration

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Posted by More-Business-As-Usual
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 13, 2012 at 7:24 am

It wasn’t that long ago that very long-time (too many for most) local government appendage Gary Fazzino was calling for a second term for Sid Espinoza, making all sorts of undocumented claims about his “successes”--

Web Link

It is hard to believe Sid Espinosa's term as mayor is almost over. And what a great year of accomplishment it has been...approving the Stanford hospital project...establishing a long-term infrastructure plan...approving a fiscally sound budget without a significant negative impact on city services. And perhaps most important, exhibiting a style of leadership that focuses on transparency, inclusiveness and decision-making.

Of course, Espinoza was not responsible for the success of anything that happened while he was mayor, since government is process-driven. These, or some other projects, would have come to conclusion—since the person responsible is the City Manager.

Fazzino was not very specific about what Espinoza would have “accomplished” during a second, and possibly third, term as mayor, but certainly dealing with runaway employee compensation/benefits would be on the table—unless Espinoza would have been able to somehow table this issue until he no longer were mayor.

Pension costs top list of Palo Alto budget woes
Web Link

Palo Alto currently contributes 24 percent of public-safety employees' salaries for pensions, while the employees contribute 9 percent. The city now pays between 19 and 22.75 percent for non-public-safety employees, with contributions varying by labor groups, according to the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

The CalPERS change could force the city to pay as much as 33 cents for every dollar of salary for "miscellaneous employees" (those not in public safety) starting in 2013. For public-safety workers, the city's contribution could soar to between 49 percent and 52 percent of salaries.

Runaway municipal spending, and fraud, have now emerged as primary reasons for three City governments to declare bankruptcy, and one (Bell), to see most of its top official indicted on various charges. Espinoza was silent during his year as a “fantastic mayor” about the impact of paying lavish salaries and benefits on the long-term financial health of the City. But then, Fazzino, himself, never seemed to show much interest in the burgeoning costs of government, and probably doesn’t see 52% of salary for “benefits” as a problem, either.

It’s really hard to see Fazzino’s claims about Espinoza to be true, but since there seems to be one political reality for people who are clearly “insiders”, and another for the rest of Palo Alto—-no doubt Fazzino believes what he believes, and wouldn’t look for any facts to bolster his “business as usual” point-of-view.

All-in-all, it’s hard to see how Espinoza will be missed, since it’s hard to see what he contributed while he was a Council member.

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Posted by How he voted
a resident of Ventura
on Jul 13, 2012 at 10:59 am

Well, he contributed his vote to all the big oversized developments that are infesting the city. Was there any monster building he didn't vote for? Even 195 Page Mill.
No wonder Greg Scharff and Carol Harrington praise him to the skies.The chamber of commerce applauds him too.

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Posted by Ronna Devincenzi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 13, 2012 at 11:17 am

Sid was a terrific mayor and councilman. Engaged, friendly, and keeping regular hours, for people to go and speak with him, in person, if they had a concern.

Sid knows what "Civic Engagement" is, working with those within the city, as well as the public. I always thought he was acting in good faith, and his term as mayor proved it. Sometimes decisions are not easy, yet, they must be made.

Regarding the comment about the trees and Sid: this is an ideal example of how facts just aren't that important to some people. So being true to oneself in Palo Alto is as important as having skin as thick as bark. Most people are terrific. Others, no one can please.

Sid - best regards! You're terrific! Thank you for serving.

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Posted by Stained Legacy
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 13, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Mr. Espinosa's unfortunate vote to keep Measure D off of the ballot was a clear choice to prioritize special interests over the will of the people. It's a shame he succumbed to the belief that the people work for the government and not the other way around.

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Posted by Elliott Wright
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 13, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Sid will be missed on Council! As Mayor, Sid was involved in successful collaborations in our community involving health (working on plans for Stanford's new hospital), environment (created a more effective Public Works department, hired a new urban forester, furthered the urban forest master plan, planted hundreds and hundreds of trees at local schools, and leading our City to a Zero waste system), education (creating unprecedented opportunities between Stanford and the School District, and completely redesigning and recreating our Library's), and a host of civic, planning, and transportation issues (including the adoption of the Bicycle Master Plan). On each of these levels Sid has leveraged incredible results, and he did all of this while balancing the City budget each year, on time, and with consensus among his colleagues. He did all of this while managing community benefiting programs through his workplace, Microsoft. And as many know Sid is incredibly dedicated to his work, and he is a true leader. In fact, he is such a leader in Corporate Philanthropy, that dozens of other corporations follow his lead in recommendations to do certain projects, or to support various initiatives. As a person, Sid is truly one of the nicest, kindest, most down-to-earth people I have ever met. He gets his strong work-ethic and friendly personality from his family and friends back home. He is an exemplary individual and rising leader, and while I'm sad he will not seek re-election, I know that he will be continue to be part of great things.

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Posted by Council Watcher
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 13, 2012 at 3:36 pm

One of the better collaborators I've seen; truly one who could excel and serve well in a higher political position, if he chose to pursue it. Good luck, Sid!

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Posted by Susan Rosenberg
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 13, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Sid didn’t single-handedly do all the things he’s been accused of or credited with in this thread of comments. Given the inherent and legal roadblocks of a bureaucracy in this day and age, it’s remarkable that anything gets done, but our Council has made significant progress on major issues, of which Sid is a big part.

But for paloaltotreewatch to say to Sid, “shame on you” because “more trees have been removed under his watch” is simply barking up the wrong tree. Trees are removed for many reasons, but not because of this Council and certainly not because of Sid. Thousands of dollars of private funds and hundreds of volunteers were brought to Canopy by Sid to plants trees. That’s what Sid does.

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Posted by paloaltotreewatch
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Jul 15, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Susan R - thanks for letting me know about some of the positive
contributions of Sid with respect to the urban forest. Yes I have seen some of the new trees at schools and they look great. I also remember the lovely Cedar planted at the new JCC. These are awesome contributions to the PA urban forest.

A more complete portrait of a councilors support for the urban forest should take into account both the trees voted to remove with the trees supported planted. I agree.

I was hoping to follow up with you on statement you made:
"Trees are removed for many reasons".

Could you please enumerate the reasons trees are being removed?

Could you also please help me understand why I never see any information regarding tree removal on the Canopy website?

In my view it would paint a more complete portrait of the urban forest management functions which Canopy is part of. And that is important.

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Posted by Roxane Williams Douvos
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 15, 2012 at 8:56 pm

I am deeply grateful for Sid Espinosa's service to our community, especially noting the care and concern he shared for our youth during and after the teen suicide cluster crisis. And he didn't just pay it lip service: he really tuned in to kids and to parents and focused on teen health in a positive way, such as by supporting Project Safety Net. When he ran into kids -- like my son's first grade on a field trip to the glass house outside City Hall -- he always took time to stop, acknowledge, and engage them. My kids saw him at their schools, at the library's gatherings, and all over town, and they knew who he was, as do many of their friends. And that, to me, is the hallmark of a great leader: one who spends enough time in a myriad of ways in the community so that he comes to know his constituents and their needs and can represent us based on true connection with our concerns. I think Sid's departure from our Council is a huge loss, but I am excited to see what's next for him. If he's running for another office, I'll proudly work on his campaign, because he sure did show up for our kids. Thanks for a job well done, Mr. Espinosa!

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Posted by Ronna Devincenzi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2012 at 11:27 am

Regarding Sid's enthusiasm for being a good role model for children- he also took time out on an October Sunday in 2010, to attend the Halloween Trick or Treat for Kids event held on California Avenue.

That was the FIRST time a mayor has been to this community event held, annually, for about 17 years. Sid OFFERED to be there, though he had another committment at Lucie Stern just hours later. Kids were so excited that the mayor came, for them.

If we count all the time spent preparing for council meetings, reading volumes of information, AND making himself available to citizens, answering them in person or via email, the job Sid did was fabulous. He was always responsive, good natured, and he did an overall stellar job. He was an ideal spokesperson for Palo Alto.

I heard from good sources that he was also an excellent liaison to the library commission too, an asset for a cause for which everyone can now be thankful, with libraries being so well used. People are out in droves, and libraries offer resources and tools for every age.

Thank you, Sid! You left mighty big shoes to fill!

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Posted by gbell
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 16, 2013 at 8:59 am

I am very pleased the city Council voted wisely to clear the path for the anaerobic digestion, AD system.
My only wish is that our all-inclusive, democratic process have another, faster setting. No one knows precisely how patient our earth will be with our decision timing. Can we implement a "sense of urgency" switch when deciding climate issues?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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