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City Council to review Sister Cities program

Original post made on Aug 11, 2013

Turning a cultural-exchange program into one of strategic business and technology partnerships, the Palo Alto City Council will discuss its "sister cities" program, Neighbors Abroad, tonight.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, August 11, 2013, 5:16 PM

Comments (10)

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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 11, 2013 at 7:41 pm

"Leverage our existing relationships", "add new ones", "enhance our position in the global marketplace". The next sentence in the City staff report might as well read "pump up the demand for office space". As far as "technology sharing" among companies, why would the City be involved in any way in that area? Anybody out there have any thoughts about any of this?

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Posted by Cities-Are-Local-Not-Global-Endeavors
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2013 at 8:52 am

> Staff lauded Neighbors Abroad's significance, saying it
> provided cultural, educational and ambassadorial benefits.

It also seems to be providing some people prone to fantasy cushy jobs on the City payroll.

> Topics of discussion could include energy efficiency,
> cloud computing, interactive digital arts and gaming,
> nanotechnology, biotechnology and medical devices,
> sustainable development, "smart" cars and renewable energy.

While these topics are all "hot", and will doubtless be the focus of hundreds of billions of dollars of private, and possibly general government, investment--none of these topics are relevant to the role of local governments.

Some of these topics might be appropriate for State-level governments to be investigating, but small, poorly managed governments like Palo Alto, after its stellar performance with projects like Mitchell Park, should renew its efforts to mind its own business, and get the streets paved, and trying to find efficiency of scale by working with neighboring governments to reduce costs.

What the employees of the City of Palo Alto, or its elected City Council, can add to the investigations of nanotechnology defies the imagination.

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Posted by member
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 12, 2013 at 11:09 am

It has already been established by the Secretary of State Clinton in her closing speech the problem of technology transfer between the US and China, all else is a top level government issue. Palo Alto, as a small city government, is not technically competent to encroach into this subject and has no authority to do so. You have nothing to sell. Collaboration on these topics resides in private companies and universities. Stanford is equipped to handle this on their own terms as are the private companies -they are doing just fine. Palo Alto is not Stanford. Palo Alto is re-thinking the cost of maintenance of infrastructure as a bond issue or extra tax. Reconsider what the city is doing bottom line - all actions requiring funding, and print that so the public can see the whole picture. Put a priority on the whole list - the public will tell you what needs to go.

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Posted by Bad Idea
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2013 at 11:27 am

China is not a reputable country for Palo Alto, or anyone for that matter, to do business with. Very poor quality control of products, human and civil rights violations galore, etc.......very dishonest government.

This is why so many Chinese wish to leave China!

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Posted by Dan
a resident of Southgate
on Aug 12, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Council is correct in determining that Heidelberg is a much nicer place to visit than Yangpu, China. However, perhaps if the Council upped their doses of Lithium these manic visions of their place in the world would subside and they could focus on the mundane business of running (or not interfering with the running) of our City. If not, they should at least promise that our City will NEVER (again) pay for council or staff to visit one of our "Sister Cities".

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Posted by resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 12, 2013 at 1:23 pm

This is the City going off on a tangent in pursuit of its vision
of Palo Alto as a global tech hub with office towers.

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Posted by Joni Reid
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 13, 2013 at 12:29 am

As chairperson of the Enschede (The Netherlands) sister city of Neighbors Abroad I find the Palo Alto On-Line News was remiss in failing to mention that Enschede and Palo Alto signed an Economic Agreement in 2007 which addresses the cooperation between the two cities regarding hi-tech, particularly clean energy, programs. Officials from Enschede have visited Palo Alto on several occasions starting in 2005 and as recently as October 2012, and Palo Alto officials have visited Enschede in the past and will be going again in the Fall of 2013.
Joni Reid

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Posted by Spend, spend, spend
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 13, 2013 at 8:40 am

The City Council needs to stop wasting big money on these fruitless vacations/ business trips to foreign cities and stay home. They should be earning their keep instead of spending money they claim the city is so short of.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 13, 2013 at 9:41 am

Why not put the sister cities up for a vote and use the money to pay for infrastructure instead.

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Posted by member
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 13, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Can the city please put a dollar amount on the funding allocated to this purpose? It is hard to tell if the trips are being funded 100% or only for the time allocated to the meetings. How much budget are we talking about? The city budget needs to print the breakdown of the items they are pursuing, along with the projected overruns on the Mitchell Park Community center.
Also, what is the product(s) being discussed? Palo Alto does not produce technology - it buys existing products.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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