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What you need to know about the 10 City Council candidates in Palo Alto and what they stand for

Original post made on Oct 2, 2020

Palo Alto voters will have a chance to dramatically reshape the seven-member City Council when they cast their ballots this fall.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, October 2, 2020, 6:55 AM

Comments (24)

18 people like this
Posted by Kevin
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2020 at 7:52 am

Kevin is a registered user.

Greg is standing up for what I and many other Palo Altans believe in. He has the backbone to stand up and think about the future of our city and its economics. Many people hate on Greg for taking developer money, but he is one of the only candidates who reports all donations and doesn't take ANY PAC money. He doesn't hide the money like many of his opponents and actually listens to the community on issues. I can't wait to cast my vote for Greg next week!

22 people like this
Posted by anon1234
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 2, 2020 at 8:00 am

anon1234 is a registered user.

Great insights from the weekly !
Thanks for your continued hard work on behalf of residents!

22 people like this
Posted by Listens
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 2, 2020 at 8:40 am

Listens is a registered user.

I support Tanaka. He is the only one that really listens. I am still grateful for him. He stood up for downtown north to prevent the area from getting overparked by the former Survey Monkey building. Why did Pat Burt vote for that project?

20 people like this
Posted by Greg is the right choice
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Oct 2, 2020 at 8:44 am

Greg is the right choice is a registered user.

I have to agree with the other commenters. I like Greg. He goes out of his way to hold office hours and hear different perspectives. While I certainly don't agree with him on everything, no one else does that.

I also like how he protects the residents from increased utility rates and taxes

15 people like this
Posted by Vote Greg!!!
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2020 at 9:06 am

Vote Greg!!! is a registered user.

The debate was really great last night. I think I now have a better understanding of each candidate. The candidate I was most impressed by was Tanaka. He seemed to actually consider every idea without immediately ruling it out, unlike others who seem to have a hard to listening. I was curious so I did a bit more research into him and found this video he made Web Link (not sure if I'm allowed to post links so if not, remove). It gave me a better idea about who he was, and maybe give you a better idea as well. Go get em' Greg!

12 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 2, 2020 at 10:06 am

Resident is a registered user.

Rebecca Eisenberg is an incredibly smart, well experienced individual who will bring much needed change to the council. She doesn't just talk big, she actually walks the walk - last night, she talked about how she delivered housing for 500 service workers. That's a huge deal. [Portion removed.] Vote Eisenberg!

16 people like this
Posted by Paly Student
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 2, 2020 at 10:11 am

Paly Student is a registered user.

Templeton, Lee, and Malone have a vision of what Palo Alto can be that would truly make this community whole. Affordable housing and inclusivity in all levels of government cannot exist in empty words. These candidates have a record of fighting for our values, unlike other candidates who talk a good game but then turn around and vote with Donald Trump values.

9 people like this
Posted by Mark Weiss
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 2, 2020 at 11:26 am

Mark Weiss is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

8 people like this
Posted by Meg
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 2, 2020 at 11:39 am

Meg is a registered user.

Ed Lauing- not Eric. Just alerting the daily to the mistake under the photos

39 people like this
Posted by Conflicts of Interest
a resident of Greene Middle School
on Oct 2, 2020 at 11:49 am

Conflicts of Interest is a registered user.

Tanaka receives way too many donations from developers. He wants to loosen parking restrictions in our neighborhood- calling home owner permits elitist. Lee wants to put apartments in single family home neighborhoods claiming it won't affect schools or parking. I suggest residents look deep into what these candidates stand for. I am putting my vote behind those that don't take money from developers because they are elected to be our representatives- NOT DEVELOPERS!

I'm voting for: Kou, Lauing, Stone

36 people like this
Posted by Weekly's Comments on Tanaka
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 2, 2020 at 11:55 am

Weekly's Comments on Tanaka is a registered user.

The other incumbent in the race, Greg Tanaka, in spite of his intelligence, commitment to weekly meetings with the public, and penchant for pouring over staff reports looking for any detail he can question, has been neither disciplined nor effective as a council member. He has become best known as the one who takes up inordinate amounts of time asking questions on unimportant details and rarely constructively contributes to council deliberations. He has endless curiosity but doesn't organize his thoughts well enough, take clear positions or rally support from his colleagues. But most concerning, he has unabashedly sought and accepted unprecedented amounts of campaign contributions from developers and other commercial property interests.

18 people like this
Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 2, 2020 at 12:02 pm

Native to the BAY is a registered user.

Renters unite! Vote Lee, Malone, Eisenberg !!!!

21 people like this
Posted by mjh
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 2, 2020 at 1:26 pm

mjh is a registered user.


"Many people hate on Greg for taking developer money, but he is one of the only candidates who reports all donations and doesn't take ANY PAC money. "

It is illegal not to report donations and to "take" PAC money. Are you saying other candidates are hiding donations and illegally coordinating with PAC organizations?

That's a pretty big charge.

16 people like this
Posted by mjh
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 2, 2020 at 1:31 pm

mjh is a registered user.

Do you know for a fact Asher Woldfagel is a "huge developer" with conflicts of interest?

Watching various PT&C meetings he certainly didn't appear to be supporting or voting for developer interests.

22 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 2, 2020 at 1:49 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Thank you for providing the information on the major topics we are interested in. I am very concerned about R-1 housing being abolished. That is counter to the reason people bought here and the investment they have made in this city. The people who are for the abolishment of R-1 housing have not been here long and have no investment in maintaining one of the priorities and values of this city, and most on the peninsula. That is a concept better served by a major city like San Francisco and San Jose.

I grew up in LA in a neighborhood which would not allow their R-1 neighborhoods to be dismantled. Understand that every area of the state has their neighborhoods and wants them to be sustained as is.

What is a concern is that the section of El Camino between Oregon and Charleston has old, one story commercial businesses that no one talks about. Why is that? Are they owned by someone who is untouchable? Is everyone here trying to say that a homeowner can be rolled over easier than a commercial owner who has done little to upgrade their property? You have to know that those people are not paying property tax of any value. Time to focus housing energy on that segment of the city which is an eyesore.

8 people like this
Posted by The Perfect Choice
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2020 at 1:51 pm

The Perfect Choice is a registered user.

We need Greg on Council. He is the only candidate that hears our concerns and cares about what we have to say. Palo Alto is in a crisis and I know Greg can take the charge to get us through it. VOTE GREG TANAKA on November 3rd

19 people like this
Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 2, 2020 at 7:04 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

Obviously Tanaka can be a bit scattered, and his asking an inordinate amount of questions during meetings under the guise of showing interest and concern can wear you down a bit, and he is probably taking WAY too many donations from developers as mentioned here by previous posters, but due to his obvious intelligence, he is the best candidate overall and he has got my vote.

I am currently debating between Eisenberg, Lee and Stone. I am leaning toward Eisenberg and Lee. Not that there is anything wrong with Stone so I am a bit torn. I feel all 3 of these candidates are qualified and professional but they don’t necessarily “excite me.” I may come back later and announce my decision, but just assume Eisenberg and Lee.

Now for the candidate that truly excites me! The real winner here is Raven Malone! I am throwing my full support behind her. Raven has lived here for less than a year and has absolutely no experience. So what? Everyone deserves a chance! Her fight for social justice will give her enough experience to prepare her for a position on our city council. Her fresh ideas and fresh perspective will help change PA for the better. She’s exciting and her vision for improving and changing PA is a fantastic vision of the future! PA is in desperate need of fresh ideas. Raven will easily be on that city council now. Congrats Raven!

“Are you saying other candidates are hiding donations and illegally coordinating with PAC organizations?/ That's a pretty big charge.”

Yes. Kevin didn’t say that directly but that was EXACTLY what Kevin was implying! Good catch.
I read it the same way. I think he was just trying to be a little sneaky here.

22 people like this
Posted by Ummm...Watch the debates.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 3, 2020 at 11:29 am

Ummm...Watch the debates. is a registered user.

Greer Stone and his wife are public school teachers who are renters. In his words, they "struggle to pay the rent every month. " Watch his video. I'm pretty sure he understands the challenges.

Watch Pat Burt's video. He understands both the comprehensive community effects of zoning change and the nut and bolts of doing it right. Pat Burt has clear plans to fund affordable housing and to implement thoughtful zoning change to allow more housing...and address traffic, school and community services impacts.

What was pretty clear to me is that the budget is not being highlighted by most of the candidates because they don't seem to understand it. Pat was mayor during the Great Recession. He was on Finance Committee through the city's recovery from that crisis. We are going to need his financial acumen and creative problem-solving as we navigate Covid and its economic impacts. Ditto for PAUSD candidates--the failure to talk about the BUDGET in the BOE forums is another mistake. We need to know which candidates have experience managing complex budgets. Money is going to be a huge challenge this cycle. More cuts are coming.

8 people like this
Posted by merry
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 4, 2020 at 9:28 am

merry is a registered user.

Why is there so much focus on housing. Not everyone can live in Palo Alto. Why isn’t Atherton
Under pressure for more housing?

12 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 4, 2020 at 9:41 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Reading the Mercury News recommendations in the Sunday Opinion Section - Who writes this Stuff?
1. Cari Templeton is an ex-employee of Google. The tax base of Google is Mountain View. The fact that they dominate the local scene in Mountain View does not by definition create a tax base benefit to the city of Palo Alto. Housing is her topic but increase in residents in this city creates a drain on our tax base to support the increase in residents. The tax base benefit is in another city.

2. The Comprehensive Plan that says we have to provide "3,545 - 4,420" new housing units. That number needs to be re-evaluated - we have lost two major employers for the city. Businesses that are in the Stanford Research Park are on SU property and support the tax base of SU. SU has a huge amount of land that should be used for the increase in housing for their tax base companies.

Where does that number come from? Who determined that number and on what basis? The article starts with the argument that when COVID is over the increase in traffic will be "horrible". So what is the rationale to increase the headcount of the city when they will be commuting to a different city?

In this election year the media is printing assumptions as thought they were facts and those "facts'" are then used to leverage a political outcome. Reality is that number is meaningless and has to be calibrated to reality. This city has a defined tax base for businesses and right now that would be hotels. We have a lot of hotels but I don't think they qualify as part of the comprehensive plan. Tesla's main operation is in Fremont. Musk the person has his main operation in SOCAL with Space-X. Palantir has left the scene for Colorado. Other companies have moved their operations to the northern San Jose complex of buildings.

Bottom line is we are not a housing place for companies whose tax base is supporting a different city. The Comprehensive Plan numbers are meaningless - they have no definition as to what they represent and how they were derived. They are there to create a false imperative that provides no benefit to this city.

7 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Oct 4, 2020 at 6:25 pm

chris is a registered user.


Atherton has been assigned housing goals as well. You live in a Palo Alto bubble where you only hear like-thinking neighbors. Most of the Weekly endorsements are likely to get elected this year. But the results will show that the strength of the old guard is slipping away, and some of the challengers will do surprisingly well.

Neither the Daily Post nor the Mercury News are endorsing the re-election of Kuo or Tanaka. Unlike the Weekly, they realize the council needs new blood.

19 people like this
Posted by ALB
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 4, 2020 at 8:23 pm

ALB is a registered user.

Why is it that Greg Tanaka does not answer simple yes or no questions at the forum hosted by Hilary Freeman and by the Palo Alto Weekly. I have found his consistent devotion to the desires of developers to be blaring and not what residents want. He is repetitive and does not express himself clearly. He wanted to cut services including fire from the budget. Yes he holds office hours but he is no Joe Simitian.

13 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 4, 2020 at 9:53 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Watching Elon Musk on Jay Leno's Garage show. Elon and his cars, trucks, space=x are in Hawthorne, CA. What ever the comprehensive plan says his operation is not in this city. How much of that housing goal is attributed to his operations? What other company are they touting in that plan? Did ABAG come up with that number? What a total joke. A newspaper it pushing a goal that has nothing to do with reality. And worse it is being used as political leverage. Get to work number crunchers - we will send the state auditor after you - and you know what she does to UC on a regular basis.

3 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Oct 9, 2020 at 6:45 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Watched the show last night 10/08. Noted the following:
- Eisenberg wants to tax Tesla and Palantir. Palantir is GONE - moved to Colorado. Tesla has only a skeleton crew here in PA - his auto facility is in Fremont. But his main operation is in Hawthorne, CA - SOCAL. Google is based in MV. FB is based in MP. You have companies in Stanford Research Park. That is SU property. SU property is carved out from the city. WE are providing the security services - police? There is your other issue - POLICE - what is the tax covering.
- They talked about taxing based on floor space. Suggest that number of people working at this location should be considered.

POLICE: What is the business tax paying for? What are the residents paying for? I am not interested in a bunch of people "reimagining" the police force. We are paying for a standard form of police force. A budget is carved by union supported functions. The police force is a union supported function. Who is reimagining union supported functions?

HOUSING: We cannot have people investing in homes in R-1 neighborhoods then have "new" people plunking down duplexes and bigger in the middle of neighborhoods. Multi-plex housing needs to be located in transportation areas - El Camino, border fringe areas like San Antonio, West Bayshore, East Bayshore, Shopping centers, commercial locations. Height limit is another issue - RWC has higher that 3 stories - what is the point of height limits if in the middle of the city?

Reading what is going on in other cities there are groups of "challengers" who all have the same story and line of changes. It is like spreading the place with chunky peanut butter - no definition of cities. Not buying that. Not buying the story line that goes with that.

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN - where do those numbers come form? what is the basis of the calculation? the number keeps growing - however the companies that start here move out when they need more facility space. WE need a breakdown of how that number is calculated and what specifically happens when companies leave. ABAG is not dictating numbers until they can explain how they derived the numbers.

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