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Chair of planning commission enters City Council race

Original post made on Jun 9, 2020

Carolyn Templeton, a community volunteer and housing advocate who chairs Palo Alto's Planning and Transportation Commission, announced Monday night that she will be seeking a seat on the City Council.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, June 9, 2020, 11:39 AM

Comments (35)

Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North

on Jun 9, 2020 at 11:55 am

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99 people like this
Posted by Need Better Than This
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 12:09 pm

A pro-developer YIMBY who also voted for Michael Alcheck on the Planning Commission after his major ethics problems had been revealed by the local papers. No thanks.

Not only do we need to clean up our national government this November, but we need to clean up our local government too.


100 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 9, 2020 at 12:27 pm

More YIMBY pipe dreams about getting US out of our cars while increasing density that only creates more gridlock? So tired of the well-funded YIMBY's serving big developers, big tech to shift the tax burdens to us from those over-running us while making US pay THEIR commuting expenses.

No thanks. Next?


110 people like this
Posted by Another Giveaway
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2020 at 12:27 pm

The last thing Palo Alto city council needs is another virtue-signaling "housing advocate" pretending to help the homeless but just helping wealthy real-estate developers to profit from building under-parked and overpriced stack-n-pack for well-healed tech-bros.


23 people like this
Posted by Evan
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 12:59 pm

This is exactly the type of council member this city needs.

Palo Alto is no longer the relatively affordable place it was in my youth, when my friends parents were writers, BBQ salesman, teachers, general contractors and limo drivers. Those people can't afford to live anywhere near Palo Alto, and so they all drive here now (which explains why traffic is so bad).

We need to create more homes for people to live in, and we need more neighbors. When we do that, they can get in greener ways than everyone taking their own car.

I look forward to Carolyn holding a very important voice on City Council! I'm tired of this community claiming things like "black lives matter" and "all immigrants welcome here," while at the same time Council doing its best to make sure you must have a super high income to live here (which then excludes many minorities).

It's time for a change.


62 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 1:02 pm

Not sure if it is technically illegal to politic in city hall but I know it’s forbidden.
Doesnt show good judgement to announce ones candidacy in oral comments to say the very least!


60 people like this
Posted by Leadership?
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 9, 2020 at 1:05 pm

Glad to hear Ms. Templeton wants to pursue police reform and "inclusion goals", whatever that means. But what was SHE waiting for? Where was she in last year's and this year's debate about police transparency and recent cases of excessive use of force by police here in PA? As a Planning Commissioner, why was she not a leader to prioritize Below Market Rate housing? Why did she not speak up as the city fumbled opportunities to protect the residents of the naturally-affordable President Hotel apartments? Why has she not pushed forward any transportation solutions on the PTC? Granted, she only has one and a half years of city engagement, but a lot has happened during that time. Where was her leadership?


98 people like this
Posted by Santiago
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 9, 2020 at 1:18 pm

She supported the unapologetic [portion removed] Michael Alcheck, and echoes all the empty virtue signaling platitudes of one Cory Wolbach. That's all I need to know to know who I'm not voting [email protected]


Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North

on Jun 9, 2020 at 1:36 pm

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2 people like this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 9, 2020 at 1:39 pm

[Post removed.]


58 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2020 at 1:41 pm

Another pro-development "housing advocate". How many times have such people slipped onto the PACC under the *guise* of "housing".


33 people like this
Posted by anon
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 9, 2020 at 1:54 pm

Templeton did not serve a on the North Ventura cap working group, she was appointed but never served as she had s conflict having to do with employment issues in her family.
Another Planning commissioner has been the planning commission rep to that group ;
Commissioner Summa.


33 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2020 at 2:05 pm

I always want to thank someone who is willing to run for City Council.

This does not seem to be someone who will put residents' needs first. I cannot see anything other than same old, same old, when it comes to things like traffic, bikes, housing, etc.

I want to see more details of how she sees helping those of us who live in Palo Alto to improve our quality of life, how she can improve public transportation, how she will improve traffic gridlock areas, how she will improve infrastructure and how she will encourage more shopping/retail/dining for those of us in Palo Alto rather than our tax dollars going to Mountain View or other nearby cities.


21 people like this
Posted by Thankful
a resident of Ventura
on Jun 9, 2020 at 2:57 pm

So Glad Cari is running! I would encourage mean-spirited commenters here to get to know Cari, rather than engage in guilt by association (and guilt for supposedly illicit carports of all things...time to move on folks).

She is a truly kind person who listens and I'm thankful she is running. We need more leaders like her who are open-minded and driven to find solutions. Tired of the ideologues desperate to maintain the status quo. For the good of residents and non-residents alike, Palo Alto needs to adapt.


47 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2020 at 3:12 pm

Posted by Thankful, a resident of Ventura

>> Tired of the ideologues desperate to maintain the status quo. For the good of residents and non-residents alike, Palo Alto needs to adapt.

Actually, for the benefit of residents and non-residents alike, we residents don't need "to adapt" to more office space and more employees and more traffic. Business needs to adapt by having more people working remotely, more satellite offices near where people actually live, more decent-sized private offices with filtered, virus-free air, more affordable housing, more affordable restaurants and other services, and less traffic.

We don't need to adapt to the whims of fashion-driven venture capitalists who want all their minions within groveling distance. Those very same VCs would benefit financially from employees who are more productive, as people are when they have better working spaces. Everyone would benefit by adapting to our post-COVID-19 reality of less crowded workspaces. Everyone except high-end property developers and their proxies.


9 people like this
Posted by Concerned Neighbor
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 9, 2020 at 3:22 pm

Cari has always been a compassionate person and cared deeply about community issues large and small. Very excited about her candidacy in the City Council race! Of all the candidates to announce so far, she is the best person to keep the greater good in mind.


56 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2020 at 3:37 pm

Posted by Concerned Neighbor, a resident of Downtown North

>> Cari has always been a compassionate person

By all accounts, she is a warm, friendly person. That really is not relevant to the huge *policy* issues that we face.

I'm looking for candidates who are developer *unfriendly*.


9 people like this
Posted by Paly Student
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 9, 2020 at 5:15 pm

Our city seriously needs to be a much more welcoming and livable place for middle class and working-class residents. Cari's leadership on housing and homelessness issues is telling that she's truly a voice for marginalized residents, not big developers.
Cari is the kind of leadership we need on city council.


53 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 9, 2020 at 5:25 pm

The YIMBY party is no struggling grassroots organization. It has local, regional, state, national and global offices actively lobbying for bills like Scott Weiner's "sue the suburbs" initiatives and under-parked developments / aka alternative transportation fairy tales.

Research who funded YIMBY's incredible growth, their stance on worker pay and BMR housing -- (the YELP ceo who's got some history with PA development of the JJ&F space and other big high-tech execs) and who's supporting them now, including the GOP and Trump's HUD under Ben Carson.

Follow what's happening in San Jose as Google's Real Estate Dept. keeps lobbying the city for more and more millions of sq feet of office space and "car-light" developments so they can pack more and more people into smaller and smaller spaces.


17 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 9, 2020 at 5:26 pm

What's her position on rent control and below-market-rate housing?


Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North

on Jun 9, 2020 at 6:09 pm

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Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North

on Jun 9, 2020 at 6:17 pm

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12 people like this
Posted by In support...
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 10, 2020 at 7:17 am

This is wonderful news. Templeton would be a wonderful addition to our city council. She has demonstrated such poise and thoughtfulness on the planning commission and we need people like that to get involved locally. The contrast between her style of engagement and Lydia Kou’s is so significant it borders astonishing. Considering how important local government is, I for one am very glad to see a true professional in every sense of the word putting her hat in the ring. Anyone in this city who hasn’t met her in person should do so before passing any judgment. She is literally a delight.


13 people like this
Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 10, 2020 at 9:37 am

Concerns such as those Evan raises need to be addressed by each candidate. I think the hard fact is this: Palo Alto cannot be made affordable. It may be possible to build a limited number of housing units that are affordable, but that's not the same thing. Absent razing commercial buildings and replacing them with housing, where's the available land for the amount of housing needed to make possible the growth some desire?

It will be interesting to follow the campaign promises this time around. Covid-19 has changed many things, including demands on transportation. What are the projections for public transportation? What's the plan for first and last mile to get people to and from the train (I think the new budget eliminated the shuttle). Covid also put a focus on the perils of density. Building up is often offered as an answer to the city's jobs:housing shortage, but dense housing and elevators come with problems not considered in the past. And how has Covid changed the jobs:housing shortage? Working from home is a new norm - will it last? Where are we on that? I think it would be colossally short-sighted for housing and growth advocates to proceed as though Covid hadn't happened. Perhaps more than ever we need to step back, take stock, reassess, and make new projections that account for our new reality. And it may require patience as we wait to see how things shake out over the next couple of years.

A philosophy-diverse City Council will serve the community better than one that is heavy one way or the other because healthy debate leads to better decisions than bias does.


35 people like this
Posted by We are here, we are here, we are HERE!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 10, 2020 at 10:11 am

So, she is “delightful” and”nice” (the main selling pints of the disastrous Corey Wohlbach) and living in the prepandemic LIE of blind adherence to densification and bringing in an endless supply of highly paid tech workers for employers like google which was the source of our housing woes and causing the massive displacement of low-income residents and people of color.

Go bike or drive around google campuses. There’s a lot more space to convert office buildings to housing. Google should create satellite offices in towns with cheaper housing and help make those office parks available for transformation into housing. They should also be willing to intersperse agricultural use and manufacturing so they are not furthering the very unenvironmentally friendly urban monoculture that pulls resources from ever further away.

As the pandemic has shown, it is the transportation for that world (buses, construction vehicles, etc) that are responsible for the bulk of pollution, not cars. Kind of like the presumption that skyscrapers are more energy efficient but when actual skyscrapers and the way people actually use them are taken into account, they are LESS energy efficient.

Weekly, please stop using biased and incorrect euphemisms like “housing advocate” or “growth” advocate. Who isn’t against housing or things that grow in a general sense? Fine gets called a housing advocate but when push comes to vote, he’s been for the kind of beehive housing that allows unlimited growth for big tech companies like google and Palantir, but displaces everyone else (anti-growth of everyone else and amenities for families, diversity, etc). Every time he’s had a chance to support actual low income housing, he’s been less enthusiastic.

We don’t need another person to continue pushing the obviously bankrupt overdevelopment lies of the past.

Lastly, to the poster who says we need to return to the relatively affordable Palo Alto of the past, what alternative universe have you been living in? Palo Alto has never been affordable in 40 years of my memory, even when there were temporary dips like after the earthquake during a recession I knew a guy back then who came out to Mayfield in a covered wagon and said people told him he was CRAZY to spend $5,000 on a house! There was only one point, with still relatively low demand and large county areas opened after the war and VA money, that there was a relatively affordable housing expansion here. That’s it. Those days, and their very different demand side of the equation are gone. Now we have giant tech whales trying to treat this area like a dormitory for infinite demand of entry level tech workers who displace everyone else then scream about needing to density in order to bring in more of their workers. Stop it! Just stop bringing in false prophets like Templeton to worship on the altar of “density” and “growth”.

The best encouragement of biking has been tech workers staying home during the pandemic. They can do that anywhere. We need someone for Council who will try to rebuild a Palo Alto’s diverse civic life after the prepandemic assault by false density prophets by people like Templeton. As with choosing my doctor, I care much more about their concern for my health and their competence over their bedside manner.

When does the Democratic Party, of which I am a member, stop producing such blind adherents to overdevelopment?

Weekly: please at least come up with less grossly biased euphemisms, or strive for some balance. People like Kou aren’t characterized by “slow growth”, they actually be considered pro growth if the subject is diverse and holistic civic amenities, low income housing, etc. they are anti-office space overtaking our towns. Anti-office Park monoculture. Pro resident is probably the most apt. Stop stacking the debate with the biased language already! And please vote no to people like this who are living in the lies of the past. I’m sure she is nice and believes them. Let her be an activist to convert google office space to more civically holistic uses including low-income housing and allowing for social distancing and sun/air/daylight plane. If she Is successful, then I’ll consider voting for her.


32 people like this
Posted by 6Djockey
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 10, 2020 at 11:44 am

We've heard this song before. Give money to developers to make our city more dense, exacerbate our already crowded roads and parking lots and make residents pay for the additional costs of infrastructure. Echoes of Cory Wolbach is scary.


20 people like this
Posted by Be accurate
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 10, 2020 at 12:14 pm

First, look at her current record. Planning and transportation - how do you feel that is coming along in PA? Is traffic good? How about planning? Just that bike overpass, or Mitchell library - it is a horror story. No, it was not on her watch. "One of her priorities, if elected, would be to move ahead with strategies to reduce car traffic". Why would not she roll up her sleeves and start doing just that? Why seeking a CC seat? She has her work cut out for her. ... one would think. Does she need a stepping stone and PA CC is the one?

A set of well-rounded cliches is no good as the candidate's platform. Remember Wollbach and Cormack with their vague "civility" claims when asked straight questions and what it turned out to be? We need accurate statements on the office development, traffic congestion mitigation, housing priorities and strategy, capital construction, other infrastructure, such as schools, stores, water. Also, now the Covid-19 problem.

This is serious. There are four seats opening up. Last time Cormack squeezed in because there were no viable candidates. There are two reasonable candidates, so far. Other two are from the current CC - Fine and Tanaka - and now this. Not a good set of odds. Need more reasonable candidates.


9 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 10, 2020 at 1:05 pm

Housing needs are going to change if a move to working from home becomes permanent for many.

Those who are successfully working from home are doing so in a setting where they have space for a home office. They have enough space in a guest room, or an empty nest where the adult children are no longer home, to set up a home office. For some couples, a second home office so that each person has their own space is much more necessary. This means that home time and office/work time can be completely separate and items do not have to be moved so that eating, game playing, crafts, etc. can be done in the living/home space.

Those who are sharing table space with others, either a spouse who is also working, or children doing school work, is not working so well. Add to that the necessary high speed internet, isn't working well. Likewise those who have set up space in the garage or garden shed are finding that hot weather is making those work spaces very inhospitable, and even homes without a/c is not so pleasant when computers are generating heat.

For these reasons, rabbit hutch homes are not going to appeal to the work from home crowd, even for those who will be working part time from home.

Homes are going to need more space. Workers who can do so will consider moving out of the area to be able to live surrounded by more space to enable home office space.

All planning for the future is going to have to take this into account.


24 people like this
Posted by TweetMeister
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 10, 2020 at 2:58 pm

Ms Templeton tweets almost as much as other leaders. She has attacked our officials and commissioners in snide comments and retweets. Not the demeanor I'm looking for on Council.


24 people like this
Posted by No more growthers
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 10, 2020 at 3:59 pm

She is a YIMBY supported "growther" who wants to overdevelop Palo Alto. In other words - destroy what remains of our quality of life here.

We are already too crowed and too polluted. Why can't we get candidates to run who want to establish density limits, stop us from living on top of one another and provided more parks and open spaces so these areas don't have to be closed if suddenly the residents here want to use them during quarantine times.

We need population control, density limits and a way to maintain personal space.

Vote NO on all the "growthers" - Fine, Tanaka and Templeton! Elect those that care about a livable Palo Alto.


9 people like this
Posted by Polarizing
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 10, 2020 at 6:52 pm

I worry that Ms Templeton is a polarizing figure and may not have the skills to collaborate across both aisles to make the profound change that Palo Alto needs.


14 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 10, 2020 at 10:31 pm

Whew, thanks for all the insights in these posts! If she supports Scott Weiner, then I do not support her. I do,bot support vindictive, damaging, deceptive housing policies in this state or city.


2 people like this
Posted by Anon resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 20, 2020 at 11:17 am

To those saying traffic and pollution is bad: that's even more reason to build more housing WHERE JOBS ARE. It's also more reason to encourage bike/pedestrian-centric infrastructure and better public transit. If people don't have to commute an hour (or more) each way to their jobs and can actually afford to live where they work, then pollution and traffic will be reduced everywhere. The only viable solution to a housing shortage is to build more housing. And that includes in YOUR backyard.


8 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 20, 2020 at 11:42 am

Posted by Anon resident,a resident of Old Palo Alto

>> To those saying traffic and pollution is bad: that's even more reason to build more housing WHERE JOBS ARE.

"There you go again."

Some people will fall for that again, and, these friends-of-office-space-development sneak onto PACC again. Just say NO to more office space development. Just say no to more high-end development. The only thing that should be built in this town is BMR housing.

OBTW, it is not economically possible to restore the jobs/housing balance here through development. The only thing that will actually solve that problem is to move the JOBS where the housing is -- the opposite of what you are talking about.


4 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 20, 2020 at 3:48 pm

Moving jobs to where housing is? Based off your first statement, it sounds like you would support housing development, so I'm confused. There is a housing shortage all over the Bay Area. Moving jobs around will not fix that. While I agree that below market rate housing should be a priority, we need to build more housing at all income levels. More housing in itself will reduce the price of housing overall. There is a supply issue, and we need to meet the demand by building more housing (not office developments, as you implied).


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