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Palo Alto mayor will not seek reelection to City Council

Original post made on Aug 6, 2020

Palo Alto Mayor Adrian Fine, a staunch housing advocate who has frequently clashed with his City Council's colleagues on issues pertaining to growth, will not seek another council term.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, August 6, 2020, 12:54 PM

Comments (26)

45 people like this
Posted by Przemek Gardias
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 6, 2020 at 4:57 pm

Przemek Gardias is a registered user.

Thank you for your service! Congratulations on becoming a father, the most important job in life.

42 people like this
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 6, 2020 at 5:52 pm

KEN HOROWITZ is a registered user.

Thank you Adrian for your service these past four years. Not an easy task being on the Palo Alto City Council especially during this COVID-19 pandemic crisis. You added a lot to the Council especially being a renter. Hope you continue to live here with your new family member and housing becomes affordable for young families like yours. Best wishes, stay safe and be well. Ken

10 people like this
Posted by Rebecca Eisenberg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 6, 2020 at 8:29 pm

Rebecca Eisenberg is a registered user.

Adrian, it is testament of your character that you chose to prioritize spending time with your newborn baby. Your decision also speaks to the values with which you were raised - and are teaching by example your own child. In many parts of this country and world, men don't feel empowered to make this choice. Here, in Palo Alto, I'm the first commenter to mention it.

Your child is fortunate to have a father who prioritizes them. Curtis and I wish you and Jane B'sha'ah Tovah on your upcoming arrival.

That said, I hope you do not give up on Palo Alto as a great place to raise a family, as well as an inclusive community that values racial justice. A couple of us already in the race for City Council chose to run with precisely those goals.

Although you and I disagreed on certain tactics, I never doubted that you sought to increase the availability of affordable housing in Palo Alto. I was looking forward to the opportunity to serve with you on City Council, in part to help you understand how a firm stop on approval of any commercial development - especially office space - is needed in order to best achieve that goal.

[Portion removed.]

One thing you can do to pave the way to help improve Palo Alto's ability to be even more friendly and inclusive of more economic levels, is to put an Initiative on an upcoming City Council Agenda to endorse Prop 15, as did Santa Clara County. This should be doable, given that two council members - you and Councilmember DuBois - as well as numerous others including former Vice President Joe Biden - already support this important opportunity to close corporate tax loopholes and reclaim $12 billion a year for our state, $1.33 Billion of which would go to Santa Clara County directly. That additional funding would help us revive the community services cut by the City Council over the past few months - Children's Theatre, electric shuttles, funding for our schools, a more resident-friendly approach to train crossings - so please do what you can while still Mayor to make that happen.

You faced tough circumstances this year as Mayor, Adrian. Certainly much more challenging than any Mayor has faced in many years, even decades. And it is extremely unfair, not to mention, illogical, to lay the blame of City Council's unpopular actions entirely on you.

That said, what you did in choosing not to seek reelection - only for now, I hope - makes more room for a new candidate with new ideas and fresh approaches to have an opportunity to make our upcoming economic recovery far better than a return to the former status quo. With new voices untethered by the failed practices already attempted, Palo Alto can emerge from recovery as the innovative, family-friendly, inclusive community I know we both seek: a community where public school teachers, fire fighters, seniors, grad students, and young families, can live alongside executives, authors, artists, and grandparents in retirement.

I hope you will continue to join me in working towards these achievable goals.

14 people like this
Posted by Michelle
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 6, 2020 at 11:39 pm

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So happy for you and your wife! Congratulations. Sad for the City of Palo Alto. I appreciated your willingness to go with your conscience and speak without equivocation in favor of SB50.

156 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 7, 2020 at 1:08 am

Palo Alto Resident is a registered user.

While I wish Fine well personally, the truth is he was not well suited to his job and it is a good thing that he is effectively "resigning to spend more time with family." Perhaps he was too young; perhaps he had the wrong temperament. Like Wolbach in the last go-around, he did not accomplish much, and overall did more harm than good.

Overall, this has not been a very effective council - divided, lacking in leadership, overly deferential to the city manager and staff. It's not an easy job, I grant you, but they can do better than this.

2 people like this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 7, 2020 at 2:21 am

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Mazel tov. And may their first child be a fine child. A Libra, even.

70 people like this
Posted by Voter
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 7, 2020 at 10:20 am

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I am so glad to hear that Mayor Fine values diversity and inclusiveness-glad and surprised. From his voting patterns it seemed to me that what he valued was business profits.

121 people like this
Posted by Kathy
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Aug 7, 2020 at 10:21 am

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Wish him well with his family, but to be honest --- glad for the city that he has decided to take a different path. Even in his departure he seems focused on labeling people who disagree with his views.

76 people like this
Posted by A Great Place to Raise a Family
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 7, 2020 at 10:57 am

A Great Place to Raise a Family is a registered user.

I wish Adrian the best with his new family. Palo Alto is an amazing place to raise a family and I hope his time as a parent is as meaningful as ours was here. I wish Adrian had understood and attempted to preserve that while in office rather than trying to remove single family zoning and increasing office development.

8 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 7, 2020 at 11:10 am

Palo Alto is a registered user.

You are so right. I too believe that the ship has sailed here in Palo Alto. I have given up, and will be making my escape next month....There are so many great places to live. I am sure you will find a great place to raise your family.

7 people like this
Posted by Granny B
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 7, 2020 at 11:43 am

Granny B is a registered user.

Thank you for supporting the opening of Foothills Park to everyone.

101 people like this
Posted by Stepheny
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 7, 2020 at 11:48 am

Stepheny is a registered user.

Fine's decision not to seek re-election is a welcome one for himself -- and many others. Good decision.

73 people like this
Posted by Novelera
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 7, 2020 at 2:11 pm

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I am happy about Fine's decision.

23 people like this
Posted by densely
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 7, 2020 at 10:40 pm

densely is a registered user.

Adrian was correct when he said "We've effectively externalized our housing demand to other communities, and the result is traffic". He was wrong to support SB50 and its companion bills, which would "solve" this problem by shifting all zoning authority to the state without provision for building the transit solution to fill needs generated by development.

49 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 8, 2020 at 7:29 am

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Ironic that Fine said: The city, is more "inward focused" and less concerned about diversity and inclusiveness. He said he doesn't see a future for growing a young family in Palo Alto and he does not believe the community is prepared to take serious action on equity, inclusion and affordability.

We remember when:
Fine voted to cut funding to library (including the College Terrace Library that has a shoestring budget).
Fine voted for large developments.
Fine voted to have cut funding to community programs affecting youth (that provide free counseling to youth who are under privileged and of diverse background).

Fine says he supports housing and young families and diversity and inclusion, but his motions and votes say he is in developers pockets and opposes free programs for our community.

We see through the words.

12 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 8, 2020 at 12:15 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

We have a strange habit of addressing history with starting points to support an argument. SU, Palo Alto and Mayfield were the original towns in the area due to the building of the university. The forest above the town provided a lot of timber to rebuild SF after the earthquake. Our bay was not closed off for flood concerns. We were built out up to point then grew our southern area with the inclusion of Ford Aerospace and Lockheed Martin - the main employers outside of the university back in the day. Those companies provided the funding and participation in many of the social events that built this area as a place to live and grow a family. Commercial entities provide the tax base for growth.

So we now move to the "progressive" tactics of the city to turn it in to a Manhattan project and get vilified for being YIMBY's. For me that translates into a location that does not support family support and growth of a place where you bring up your children. Mr. Fine supported the growth in a city that is already built out to the borders - a unique situation which differentiates us from the surrounding cities that were previously groves of trees. If you don't understand the history of the area then quit trying to make it into something else.

24 people like this
Posted by Fine's opinion of Palo Alto
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 8, 2020 at 1:50 pm

Fine's opinion of Palo Alto is a registered user.

Bay Area News Group
PUBLISHED: June 23, 2020 at 6:30 a.m. | UPDATED: June 24, 2020 at 6:47 a.m.

Fine said. “It’s like, Palo Alto, you guys are NIMBYs gone wild.”

23 people like this
Posted by Rebecca Eisenberg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 8, 2020 at 4:22 pm

Rebecca Eisenberg is a registered user.

Resident-1 Adobe-Meadows: I appreciate the history and context of your post. I would have loved to see the Bay back then.

That said, your post repeats one of the most insidious misunderstandings, believed by most of our community -- and possibly by the City Council as well?

This is NOT true: " Commercial entities provide the tax base for growth."

Here in Palo Alto, we are the only city anywhere in our country to have so many commercial entities and not tax them ONE dime. Commercial entities provide jobs, and also -- sometimes -- drive traffic (literally) to local restaurants and retail. But they do not provide a tax base for our city, which is one of the biggest reasons our budget is in such a shambles.

Palo Alto's budget -- despite the fact that we are home to some of the biggest and most successful companies on earth: HP, Varian, Lockheed-Martin, Ford (employer of our mayor), and new mega-giants Tesla and Palantir --does not tax them *at all*.

And, despite the urgent need to put a business tax on the ballot for November -- a tax that could have and should have exempted all small and medium sized businesses (under 300 employees/$300 million revenue), and also exempted all restaurants, bars, and retail -- the City Council refused to do so, continuing to rely in residential taxes and sales taxes (now that hotel tax revenues have dried up) to fund our town that is used primarily by the corporate interests that do not pay for their use.

Adrian's error, IMHO, was equivocating commercial development, which only drains our city of necessary resources, and residential development, which creates a tax base, makes room for families, and and contributes to the community's well being.... with none of the negative impacts caused by commercial development, such as traffic congestion, traffic accidents, parking problems, and, of course, toxic waste dumps like the one that still takes up acres in Stanford Research Park.

4 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 8, 2020 at 8:16 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

I think that Mrs. Eisenberg should provide us her personal history from which she is providing her POV. We know that Mr. Weiner of SF grew up in New Jersey so that is his frame of reference as he busily tries to remake the State of CA - make it look like New Jersey where he grew up. More than half the people who run for office came from different backgrounds so bring their backgrounds with them. That is their basis for formulating a direction for their POV.

I grew up in Los Angeles and am used to having numerous ethnic regions which are very successful in duplicating their point of origins and work to keep that flame alive. And it works very well because there is enough room for it all to float along. Our POV here is that we are a university town which provides our main POV regarding politics and of course sports - we all follow our teams. Every city has it's reason for being for which much investment is provided. Why are we suppose to apologize for that?
As to commercial growth it is the employer of people - US citizens - and matches their pay with the state and federal taxes as any employer should. Social Security is paid one half by the employees and one half by the employer. State disability and it's additional taxes are provided by the employer in matching funds.

FB is donating a huge amount of resources to the County of San Mateo to help in infrastructure improvement. They all pay state taxes and property taxes. They also help pay for union dues where appropriate. They produce products which includes many subcontractors and builds regional growth.
As to regional, city, state and federal taxes we know that at least county, state and federal taxes are paid. The fact that this city does not have a business tax can be corrected.

Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North

on Aug 8, 2020 at 10:59 pm

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25 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 9, 2020 at 1:12 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Since we are talking about taxes the Santa Clara County property taxes on individual homes has a carve out for the PA School System. That in the past has help provide us with one of the best school systems in the state. If Mr. Weiner and his troops are successful we will be flooded with apartment complexes which are owned by corporations as opposed to single family owners. We could end up with more children but less tax base to support the school system.

Now you can kick in another element. Back in the day major corporations hired US workers which means that they applied all of the employer - employee taxes allowable. All workers were paying into the system through their personal taxes.

In today's world Google and other companies are trying to bring in H1b workers. They do not work directly for the companies but for the agencies which are foreign listed. That results in no employer - employee taxes paid by Google and others. So they are getting bigger and bigger, richer and richer, but side stepping all of the corporation taxes which we used to have in place. That will be an accumulating effect for this region. A downward spiral in education funding. More charter schools to offset the lack of funding in the public schools. That results in school closures.
We have our job cut out for us. If the Atkins, Wieners, and ABAG's are single mindedly focused on forcing everyone into corporation owned housing then we are in trouble.

27 people like this
Posted by Paloaltonian
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Aug 9, 2020 at 3:31 pm

Paloaltonian is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Like this comment
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 10, 2020 at 12:25 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Since the topic of commercial businesses has come up like to add that the big boy companies share technology big time. HP donated a computer lab to CSU-Chico. Boeing shares technology advancement with Cal-State Long Beach Engineering Department. Your local companies that have an engineering focus take classes at SU at the companies expense. I had my Masters paid for by my company because it was business related to my job. A whole network of Corporate and University sharing is in place. That is the value of being in this place at this time. That is what we are about in this city and the surrounding cities.

15 people like this
Posted by Zayda
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 10, 2020 at 4:15 pm

Zayda is a registered user.

@Resident-1 Adobe Meadows
The term you are looking for is 'neo-feudalism' as coined by Joel Kotkin (Web Link). The 0.1% would have us not realize the American dream of owning our own home but rather all living in high rise 800 sq.ft. apartments paying them rent and working for them. As Johnny Cash said "Oh Lord don't you take me, I can't go. I owe my soul to the Company store."

6 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 11, 2020 at 7:23 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

We are surrounded by transnational corporations. Typically they used migrant workers and VISA related workers to eliminate all of the typical corporate employee taxes. That eventually results in a downward spiral to the education system. And in the foreign countries where they are operating they bring in migrant workers and displace the resident population which ends up migrating to the US for jobs. Many of those companies are headquartered in CA. So the net effect hits CA at the state level and the US at the federal level.

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Posted by Lennie
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 12, 2020 at 6:04 pm

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That was a great song but it was sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford, not by Johnny Cash. With respect to the housing density debate, let's focus on maintaining the quality of life that we enjoy versus solving all the problems of the county, state, country, world, etc.

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