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Rebecca Eisenberg: Swinging for the fences

Original post made on Oct 2, 2020

Palo Alto City Council candidate Rebecca Eisenberg, a corporate attorney, believes current council members have repeatedly kowtowed to the rich and the powerful at the community's expense.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, October 2, 2020, 6:50 AM

Comments (18)

Posted by Resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 2, 2020 at 10:09 am

Resident is a registered user.

Go Rebecca! A well-informed, effective negotiator with a clear vision for an equitable Palo Alto. I'll be voting for you in November for sure!

Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 2, 2020 at 11:53 am

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

This article by Gennady Sheyner who has been covering local politics at least six election cycles Reads like how I would describe Rebecca as someone enthusiastic that change is going to come. So why does the editorial meanwhile dismiss her and opt for two more years of status quo kowtowing to the same rich and powerful?
For me I think we the people should be deliberating simultaneously what to do with Castilleja, which is zoned for 50 R1 homes and would generate according to Rebecca $2 million in property taxes per year as compared to the zero the tax exempt conditional user pays these days, Ventura which is 40 acres and I differ with her because I support a large park there in honor of Black Lives Matter and Cubberly 32 acres borrowing from Peter to buy out Paul.
What mix of housing parks and neighborhood amenities versus special interest and realtor profit?
Compared to the founders of Percolata, Acteron RandomSoft and even Earthwise, Rebecca helped found VERY successful companies and plausibly can bring that know how and track record, for the benefit of you, me and Jenny Down the Block.
What’s not to love?
Give em heck, Bec!

Posted by Rebecca doesn't get it.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2020 at 12:08 pm

Rebecca doesn't get it. is a registered user.

I ruled out Eisenberg early on...she doesn't seem to have any understanding of the limitations on Council's legal power (and she's a lawyer?). It is clearly evident in every debate and forum that she has not done her homework on the fundamentals of governance.

Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North

on Oct 2, 2020 at 6:55 pm

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Due to violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are only visible to registered users who are logged in. Use the links at the top of the page to Register or Login.

Posted by Ardan Michael Blum
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 2, 2020 at 8:34 pm

Ardan Michael Blum is a registered user.

Taxing Tesla would result in no Tesla to tax. They would move to Mars which will not welcome Ms E!

Posted by PaloAltoVoter
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 4, 2020 at 11:50 am

PaloAltoVoter is a registered user.

As "Doesn't Get it" pointed out, the things Ms Eisenberg says for someone who is supposedly an experienced attorney often make little sense. She seems to have little idea of the role of the council, the size of the city budget, or the any sense of nuance. "Swings for the Fences' is particularly apt metaphor - with both positive and negative connotations. She is extreme and unsteady - not suited to the every day blocking and tackling (to mix metaphors) needed. Anyone who has witnessed her outbursts knows this. She shares with Tanaka a penchant for making populist statements without consideration for how to actually accomplish anything

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Downtown North

on Oct 15, 2020 at 9:56 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Posted by Sameoldthing
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 15, 2020 at 10:13 pm

Sameoldthing is a registered user.

So the two previous people who posted about Ms. Eisenberg being wrong are simply espousing the idea that anyone who doesn't agree with them is incorrect. This is not the case. She is an experienced lawyer who was on Harvard Law Review. The City is terribly managed. The current leadership is in bed with developers, i.e. the Chicago based developers who evicted low income residents from the President's hotel; refuse to disclose conflicts, Tom DuBois stating he is fine with dark money because corporations have a right to free speech; cutting funding to the Children's theatre, libraries and other public programs; and refusing to tax the multinational corporations that pay no tax and get all their workers from outside Palo Alto, to name a few blunders. Those people who want to get along to go along and the rest of the sheeple with them. Just remember, if you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

Posted by Rebecca Eisenberg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 16, 2020 at 7:45 pm

Rebecca Eisenberg is a registered user.

There are a few errors amongst the snarky opinions in this article. Things that the Weekly knows are erroneous, like the fact that I said I was "a" person who took PayPal public, and not "the" person, and that the sentence that the Weekly claims to be quoting from the Palo Alto Neighborhoods Questionnaire is not there, but rather is from (with its changes) the interview that can be viewed on this site).

There are other things, too, that are omissions that change the meaning. For example, the reason that I am the "only" candidate that "goes as far as to say" that the City should acquire Cubberley from the school district is, I suppose, due to the fact that I am the only candidate that understands that the School District neither can raise funding for housing, nor can it legally build the housing that almost everyone else seeks at Cubberley. How that should have been written is, "Eisenberg is the only candidate with direct experience with municipal land transactions of the size of Cubberley, so she recognizes that the community's goals cannot be accomplished without the District transferring the land to the City. Fortunately," she continues, "this transaction can be completed while also ensuring that the District has a school for future use built to its specs, and providing the School District with badly needed liquidity, to help the PAUSD recover from this crisis."

Several times in the article, Gennady expresses his own ignorance, and rather than doing some journalistic research (speak with an economist, ask a School Board member), he assumes that the answers don't exist. Sometimes that research could be accomplished merely by reading a publicly available document - such as the brief 4-page description of Alternative M, which does clarify where the funding comes from.

And as to the $100 million that could be created by a large business tax, that number is easy to reach by looking at the 10-Ks for the largest employers located in Palo Alto: Tesla, Google (eg Nest), Facebook (eg Oculus), Amazon (eg Web Services) and the S-1 for Palantir. I know how to read these filings because I have taken part in writing them, including while handling an IPO ($1.2 billion) and 2 public company mergers ($3 billion). But even without that expertise, one can look to similar cities that have enacted similar measures. San Francisco recently enacted a much smaller tech-only large business tax and commercial developer tax, and those two taxes alone derive $500 million a year for San Francisco, while taxing just a handful of companies. A journalist is supposed to research the facts rather than assume they don't exist.

[Palo Alto's proposed headcount tax never would have raised that much, plus it is a broken tax due to its regressive nature, so I oppose that tax. In my interview, I point out the advantages of payroll taxes over headcount taxes, and receipts taxes over square footage taxes. I have written and spoken about tax policy alternatives in publications ranging from the Harvard Law Review to Japanese business magazines, to industry conferences. All that is on google. Here on the Weekly's pages, the writers conflate all types of taxes, so no wonder voters may be confused.]

I am proud of my accomplishments, and I believe that my record is one of the things that makes me stand out as a candidate. This of course is why I was surprised at the Weekly's headline that I "swing at the fences." Even if my son were not a highly competitive baseball player, I would know to view that description as it was intended. Yet even Gennady in this article and others cannot come up with one example of one time that I swung at the fence where I did not place the ball exactly where the coach told me to hit it. My CV makes this clear.

Contrast that with the batting averages of the Weekly's endorsed candidates: 4 years on the planning commission, and no very low income housing was built or approved. (Palo Alto has built only units of very low income housing in the past 8 years, while our legal requirement is 700 with the deadline in a year). Experience only sitting on commissions or committee. Voting for things but failing to build a coalition on those issues. Or - most bafflingly - 16 years of service on the planning commission and city council with zero accomplishments that were not "undone" by others in 2 years' time. In that case, it doesn't matter where those candidates swung. They failed to produce.

So I'll take the fences, I guess -- with the clarification that when I have swung for the fences, I always scored for the team.

When the Weekly erases this comment without fixing the erroneous word "the," it cannot complain that a growing number of people are losing trust in its journalism. Go ahead and delete this, guys. But while you are here, why not fix the one-word error that changes the connotation of that sentence, as well? Thanks so much.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Downtown North

on Oct 16, 2020 at 8:04 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 16, 2020 at 9:51 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

The above assertion is that EVERYONE wants housing at Cubberley. WRONG. The majority of the residents want Cubberley to remain a school and Community Center. It is a valuable resource for this community. A charter school can be placed on that property for a portion of the classrooms. If we keep increasing housing in PA then we will have more children and need that site for additional school services. Gunn and PAHS are already overloaded with students. We cannot keep adding more students to those high schools when we have a high school in our center city. That will be a legal issue. The FRY's site is the logical location for additional housing for teachers, city workers, etc. The current owner has a ridiculously low property tax.

Business Tax - Palantir has left the city for Colorado. Tesla has only a skeleton crew in PA. Their major location is in Hawthorne and Fremont. If the Business tax is specific to facility space then the companies listed above have their major office space and personnel in other cities.

FHP - previous comments incorrectly assert the constitution is the reason we are REQUIRED to open Foothill Park. WRONG - we own the property and pay for the maintenance and personnel. That is the same relationship that various parks have with their owners. Property ownership is key to the issue.

Low cost housing - the numbers we are "legally" required to work to are in error and need to be challenged as to how derived and by who. And if companies on SU property are included in those goals. SU derives the benefit of those companies so they are responsible for the housing relative to those companies. That goal number is politically derived with no basis in actual fact. We need to poke at that bear.

Posted by Sameoldthing
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 16, 2020 at 10:04 pm

Sameoldthing is a registered user.

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is incorrect, the 14th amendment requires opening Foothill Park, Everyone does want Cubberly to be used for SOMETHING, Palantir has actually NOT left Palo Alto for Colorado, only some of it has, and the state is going to come in and take over the low income housing issue based on Resident 1-Adobe Meadows's analysis. Wake up sheeple, it's over unless you do something.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 16, 2020 at 10:27 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Cubberley can be used for the category of students that are disabled or educationally handicapped. Special Needs Students. There is a specific need for those students and in the educational budget for the year coming up funds have been carved out for that category of students.

I have been to the Heritage Theatre in Santa Clara and that whole facility, park and charter school are in a previously closed high school. It is outstanding. We need to fix up the theatre and use it for popular ticketed events. The gym is used by a senior group. Other groups re using the spaces for dance schools and other special interests groups.

Yes - it is the same old thing because the city cannot get resolution on closure.
1. The school system has a defined need for Special Education Students. Put them there.
2. The FRY's site is sitting there with no one poking at it. The owner is not paying anything in property taxes. We can take by eminent domain with the blessings of the state government. No one has poked at this because they want to set up a default to use Cubberley. That is what is the same old thing - lets play monopoly with PA property.

Posted by Sameoldthing
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 16, 2020 at 10:31 pm

Sameoldthing is a registered user.

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows so you admit everything else you said is incorrect. Okay. Now we can discuss Cubberly.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 16, 2020 at 11:17 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

What's incorrect? The city is gaming the topics - game on. The state is gaming the low-cost housing numbers and everyone just rolls over and accepts those numbers. The city has a comprehensive plan with numbers that do not take into consideration all of the recent housing and apartment builds. A lot on Park.

Do you read a newspaper? The real estate section is continually reporting on large land acquisitions in this city. The SSL site for one. - Big BUY

The papers reported the new facility for Palantir in Colorado. That is where their corporate office is NOW. Everything in this city is a moving target and a person has to keep on top of what is changing. What is incorrect about that?

The SF City has Camp Mather for residents - How does the City of SF get away with that? There has to be a legal basis for that to continue.
So what is incorrect?
And what is YOUR interest in Cubberley? Are you the prospective homebuilder just waiting for a go ahead? Why don't you talk about your financial interest in any one of the floating crap game in process? What are you betting on?

Posted by Sameoldthing
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 16, 2020 at 11:39 pm

Sameoldthing is a registered user.

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, you've shown your. big business (prb you) gaming everyone. No interest in Cubberly, interest in not being taken by people on a mission which it seems you are. You want us all to think there is not a problem. There is a problem, special interests trying to keep us down.

People of Palo Alto you've been took! You've been hoodwinked!


Led astray!

Run amok!

This is what people do.

You need to look inside and ask yourselves is this who I am? Is this who I want to be? Not about the money, not about lies, about who you want to be known as for your life. No one here thinks about the fact that this virus has made us remember not who we are, but what we want to be remember for.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 17, 2020 at 10:48 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Yes = we all have a problem. Part of that is how to frame the problem correctly and provide a solution. I did make an error above - the Heritage Theatre is in the city of Campbell. They are putting on great shows there. Check them out on Google.

Is this competing with the Oshman Center Theatre? If we fix up the theatre we can make it a center piece for events both inside and outside. Oshman is limited in the type of shows it supports. And that money does not go to the city.

Is this competing with Lucie Stern? Hard to park there these days with the construction going on. CHS has a large parking lot which can accommodate all event participants without parking in the residential areas.

Who are the Special Interests? Sounds like you have a goal here - is the school system a special interest? I am sure that the school system has some interest in what happens to their property. I know that the AYSO that uses those fields have a special interest. I know that the library has a special interest - fund raising for books. The dance school is a special interest. The adult exercise class is a special interest.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 19, 2020 at 11:52 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Topic: Cubberely. "Same old thing" shows the city location as "Old Palo Alto". Did you all get your new Neighborhood magazine? Old Palo Alto is the location between Embarcadero and Oregon Expressway. That is the Palo Alto High School designated zone. A high school in South PA is not in your area.

I know that there are disabled students at PAHS because I have seen them wheeled down the street. I know there are disabled students at Gunn.
I have a sister-in-law and niece who are teachers specific to disabled students. Also called Special Need Students. If all of those students are located in one place they can hire teachers who are accredited in that skill set. That is a saving to the school system and takes advantage of new budget assigned to that specialty assigned by the Gov. If we have a specific program and location we can access those funds.

If that property is left to developers then we will have a major traffic jam on San Antonio which is already jammed. New construction on San Antonio is going to exacerbate the congestion in that area.

But Hey - that is not in the traffic pattern for "Old Palo Alto" who probably never ventures south of Oregon. So someone can benefit by upping our numbers but has no actual impact.

Back to the fRY's site. that is next to Oregon - is that in your way for traffic?

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