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Berman, Kasperzak off to fast starts in bid for Assembly

Original post made on Jul 21, 2015

The primary election is still nearly a year away but the two leading contenders to replace Assemblyman Rich Gordon in Sacramento have hit the ground running, with each raising more than $100,000 and picking up a list of endorsements from regional dignitaries.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, July 21, 2015, 9:59 AM

Comments (20)

Posted by Grandma, longtime resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 21, 2015 at 11:20 am

Why is Berman still taking up space on the city council? It's time for him to resign in favor of someone with local focus.


Posted by Gramps
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 21, 2015 at 11:31 am

Why is Berman still taking up space on the city council? It's time for him to resign in favor of someone with brains.

[Portion removed.]


Posted by Buyer Beware
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 21, 2015 at 11:38 am

Wow! I just took a quick look at Kasperzak's donors, and of the $72k he raised from others, more than $50k came from developers, including three contributions from Prometheus for a total of $8,400.

Web Link


Posted by Developers rule
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 21, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Berman's contributors:
include former Palo Alto mayors Nancy Shepherd, Larry Klein and Helene Wheeler (Chamber of Commerce) and Berman's current council colleague Greg Scharff, also a former mayor.
Berman has also received $1,000 contributions from Palo Alto architect Daniel Garber, a former planning commissioner; realtor Michael Dreyfus; attorney Kate Downing, who currently serves on Palo Alto's planning commission; venture capitalist John Friedenrigh of Regis Management Company; Tarken Maner, CEO of the tech company Nexenta, Sean Crocket, chief operating officer of Healthvana, contributed $2,000.
What else do you need to know?


Posted by For Berman
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 21, 2015 at 1:39 pm

Say what you will about the fundraising. I have been very happy with Berman on our city council, he has supported better infrastructure, better utilization of technology and smarter infill development (which despite its lack of popularity - is sorely needed).

And while I hope he wins this race, I do believe his vacancy would be a tremendous loss to Palo Alto!


Posted by Que Pasa?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 21, 2015 at 1:43 pm

[Post removed.]


Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 21, 2015 at 2:02 pm

Given how ineffective M. Berman has been as a Palo Alto City Council member—it will be amazing if anyone will recognize his name six months after he has exited his seat on the Council dais. There is no evidence that he has shown any awareness as to what problems Palo Alto has, and will have in the future. He has provided no “leadership” by developing ideas to address these problems, or even just facilitating discussion among the Council, the residents of Palo Alto and its neighboring cities.

Berman has been effectively nothing more than a bump on a log here in Palo Alto—taking up space until he thought that he had acquired enough name recognition that he could join the ranks of other Palo Alto politicians that had managed to springboard to higher office in Sacramento (Simitian, Kishimoto, Barton).

It will be interesting to see how he spins his time on the Palo Alto Council into a campaign message as to why he should be in Sacramento—making laws that will increasingly reduce our freedoms, and make it harder for businesses to succeed here in California.


Posted by resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 21, 2015 at 2:06 pm

Berman's contributors:
include former Palo Alto mayors Nancy Shepherd, Larry Klein and Helene Wheeler (Chamber of Commerce)and Berman's current council colleague Greg Scharff, also a former mayor.
Berman has also received $1,000 contributions from Palo Alto architect Daniel Garber, a former planning commissioner; realtor Michael Dreyfus; attorney Kate Downing, who currently serves on Palo Alto's planning commission; venture capitalist John Freidenrich of Regis Management Company; Tarken Maner, CEO of the tech company Nexenta, Sean Crocket, chief operating officer of Healthvana, contributed $2,000.

What else do you need to know?


Posted by Not Voting for Berman
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 21, 2015 at 2:33 pm

Sacramento is full of vapid windbags. Berman has made an artform of speaking at length and accomplishing nothing but parroting the opinions of his fellow pro-developer councilmembers. We do not need to repeat our mistake as Palo Alto voters and help elect another one.


Posted by Abitarian
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 21, 2015 at 3:59 pm

It is too early for me to make any decisions, but my hope is we will see additional candidates enter the race.

Mr. Berman has served only 2 1/2 years on the Palo Alto City Council. In that time, it does not appear that he has driven any key policies or shown great influence over his colleagues. He has received endorsements and donations from many local politicians, most of whom are not particularly admirable in my opinion.

Mr. Kasperzak has far more experience, 14 years on the Mountain View City Council. It will take research for me to determine if has significant accomplishments. The article states his largest contributors are builders and developers, not a positive in my book.

Perhaps Town Square readers can provide concrete, objective evidence that demonstrates why either of these men do -- or do not -- merit election to higher office.


Posted by Alice Schaffer Smith
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 21, 2015 at 10:06 pm

I would like to challenge each of the donors to each of these candidates to match their political donation with a donation to the poorest of the poor: a Palo Alto teacher's school project in La Gonave, Haiti. Greater Good Haiti is the 501(c)(3) charity which pays for everything at our school: hot lunch, school uniforms, the teachers, books, supplies, the mortgage, the filing fee for these kids to take the 6th grade matriculation exam and for those who passed (we now have 17 children) the $100 a year to pay their entry fees into middle school. The sums raised would allow us to purchase our school, fix the kitchen, and work on getting the solar system we so desperately need...

www.greatergoodhaiti.org/donate

The irony of the amounts of money which can materialize for politics but not for educating poor, illiterate kids who but for Kelly Kobza's amazing program, would be just another poor illiterate pawn in history.


Posted by Paul
a resident of another community
on Jul 22, 2015 at 12:08 am

Kasperzak voted to support the VTA's plan to reserve the left lane (in each direction) on El Camino for VTA buses only. What is Berman's position?


Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 22, 2015 at 11:04 am

Curmudgeon is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 22, 2015 at 11:18 am

mauricio is a registered user.

Berman has dutifully served the developers during his stint on the city council. He pretty much behaved as if he was elected by the developers, not the Palo Alto voters. Kasperzak too seems to be a tool for the developers. Unless a better candidate enters the race, I will vote for neither.


Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 22, 2015 at 7:02 pm

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

I counted 24 of Berman's donors with strong ties to the real estate community, and 48 such gifts to Kasperzak. Not much choice between them if you are no-growth or slow-growth or for the 99 percent real people not the 1 percent and vested.


Posted by Gary
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 23, 2015 at 11:28 pm

I have not followed the short political career of Mr. Berman but in Mountain View we are familar with Mr. Kasperzak now in his fourth term on the City Council. Maybe someone in Palo Alto will comment on Mr. Berman. When Mr. Kasperzak first ran for City Council in Mountain View as a Chamber of Commerce favorite, he said he was "open' to noisy pre-dawn commercial air cargo flights into Moffett Field. He lost. Two years later, Mr. Kasperzak ran again for City Council as a self-described "advocate" against air cargo at Moffett. This time he grabbed a Council seat. A decade ago, Mr. Kasperzak figured out that a Republican had little chance of winning partisan office in this area. So, he simply re-registered as a Democrat. For two years, Mr. Kasperzak would not take any public position on the VTA's plan to steal a lane of El Camino Real (in each direction) for its express buses only. Then, on April 21, 2015, after saying he did not know what he wanted, Mr. Kasperzak joined with 2 new councilmembers in voting to support the ludicrous VTA plan to slow travel by car on El Camino until drivers give up. The plan for El Camino is not limited to Santa Clara County. El Camino in San Mateo County would next get a third lane and then lose it to SamTrans express buses only. Mr. Kasperzak reportedly told the Daily Post that he had been "consistent" in his support of bus-only lanes. In reality, Mr. Kasperzak has only been a consistent opportunist. There is now an ongoing discussion in Mountain View of mounting recall petitions against the 3 Councilmembers who voted to support VTA bus-only lanes. So, as it stands, Mr. Berman has no serious competition for the Assembly seat.


Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Jul 24, 2015 at 12:11 am

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

Wow, PAO seems to be awfully quick on the trigger locking up discussions these days. I wonder why? Does PAO want to stifle any damaging discussion about Mr. Berman? I bet PAO/PA Weekly has already endorsed Berman.

I am praying for better candidates to enter the race. What a tragedy.


Posted by Gary
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 24, 2015 at 7:15 am

Someone familiar with Mr. Berman's political career should post a comment on his performance. In Mountain View, some of us are familiar with Mr. Kasperzak's political meanderings. Mr. Kasperzak was registered as a Republican until 9 years ago when he realized that a registered Republican would not do well seeking partisan office in this area. So, he simply switched parties. Mr. Kasperzak is one of three councilmembers in Mountain View who voted on April 21, 2015 to support the VTA's disastrous plan to seize lanes on El Camino Real for its express buses only. He is the subject of a possible recall campaign. At the April 21 meeting of the MV City Council, Mr. Kasperzak first said about the proposed bus lanws, "I do not know what I want." He should have stayed with that position. i could go on and on. And I may.


Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 24, 2015 at 12:08 pm

Curmudgeon is a registered user.

"Wow, PAO seems to be awfully quick on the trigger locking up discussions these days. I wonder why? Does PAO want to stifle any damaging discussion about Mr. Berman? I bet PAO/PA Weekly has already endorsed Berman."

Nothing personal, it's business. Berman has bought a bunch more advertising in the Weekly than any of those luckless posters.

What we have here is a perfect storm. Berman has a way of arousing extremely strong recognition of his shortcomings, which arej in turn excessively numerous.


Posted by jh
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 24, 2015 at 5:13 pm

jh is a registered user.

Having attended or watched a number of council meetings since Mr. Berman has been on the council I have noticed he often appears to be completely disinterested in the topic up for council consideration and is looking down at his lap either reading, writing, or texting on his phone or computer. When he is paying attention he quite often leans over to Mr. Scharff, who sits next to him, appearing to make snide comments and jokes directed at either the speaker or the agenda item. Once in a while he makes an insightful comment, but often appears not to be very knowledgeable. I may well have voted for him, I don't remember now, but have come to regret doing so.


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