More money, more discussion? Palo Alto considers requiring full hearings for big-ticket items | Town Square | Palo Alto Online |

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More money, more discussion? Palo Alto considers requiring full hearings for big-ticket items

Original post made on Feb 4, 2020

Despite their role as stewards of public money, Palo Alto council members are prone to swiftly approving, without a peep of debate, big-ticket contracts that sometimes exceed $10 million. For one council member, that's a problem.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, February 4, 2020, 12:55 PM

Comments (7)

7 people like this
Posted by Censor
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 4, 2020 at 1:09 pm


Leave it to Liz Kniss and Greg Tanaka wanting to cut off public input and discussion. Trumpish. Oh hey, wasn’t Tanaka a Republican?


7 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 4, 2020 at 1:22 pm

It isn't always the amount so much as it is the newness. If the city is renewing a contract where there is no reasonable expectation of change, then, debate can be a waste of time. But, $1M of new spending here, $1M of new spending there, and pretty soon, you are talking about real money.


19 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 4, 2020 at 3:34 pm

I would be interested in seeing who these contracts go to. The whole fiasco around the bike boulevard and Ross road, with strange street changes that were wholly unsafe, you have to wonder who approved these contracts with which bidder?

When the work done is incompetent and extremely expensive, you have to wonder how they landed on that specific bid and contract.


15 people like this
Posted by DUH
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 4, 2020 at 4:12 pm

Simple explanation...it's always easier (and often more fun) to waste/spend money that either isn't your own OR you didn't have to work for.


7 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 4, 2020 at 10:23 pm

Time to carve out a place on the city blog that states what contracts have been issued, for how much, and for what purpose. We have city employees that are employed to do specific jobs. The city departments should be the first place to look to get things done. If the job is out of the normal city jobs then what is it for?
If we are in the business of granting contracts to friends, family members, old college mates, etc. then we have a major problem - which I associate with government employees. Sometimes it is better to hire an outside company since we are then not on the hook for their medical plans, retirement plans, etc. There has to be a logical trade-off.


3 people like this
Posted by Rick
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 5, 2020 at 9:58 pm

If the parking lot for the new Children's Museum is any indicator, the City cannot be trusted to hire a contractor who can correctly make something simple like a parking lot (an asphalt slab with white stripes painted on it).

Still waiting for the dangerous to drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists road furniture to be removed from Ross and Charleston.

Palo Alto Online: using ">" doesn't make text HTML.


2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 6, 2020 at 9:48 am

Posted by Rick, a resident of Adobe-Meadow

>> If the parking lot for the new Children's Museum is any indicator, the City cannot be trusted to hire a contractor who can correctly make something simple like a parking lot (an asphalt slab with white stripes painted on it).

LOL. Seriously, California needs to fix its broken-statewide contract bidding process. Like, really, seriously. Look what happened here:

2012 prediction: Web Link

2018 followup: Web Link

>> Still waiting for the dangerous to drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists road furniture to be removed from Ross and Charleston.

Repeating this over and over doesn't make it true. To be clear, I have doubts about bicycles+mini-roundabouts, but, most of these "road furniture" configurations have been around since the 1970's and are generally accepted as safe. I've seen a lot of near-accidents recently, but, they have all been from a specific new technology-- electric scooters, which are being ridden in a way that is extraordinarily dangerous-- to my cardiac health anyway. These high-speed scooters are ripping along on sidewalks, and then shoot out into crosswalks, across streets, in and around cars, bicycles, and pedestrians with great abandon. This causes cars and bicycles to slam on their brakes, and pedestrians to freeze, hoping they won't get hit. Wins the prize for rudest new invention.


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