Dear Palo Altans,
There are rumors that my unwillingness to take a strong position on the Castilleja Expansion Project indicates that I am either supporting or opposed to one side or the other. The truth is that I am legally and ethically obligated to not take a position and maintain an open mind on such matters until there has been a full hearing before City Council (details below).
Your decision on voting for me should be based on my record on City Council and what it demonstrates about my values and priorities in such matters. My voting record is very clear and consistent on zoning.
My voting record
I ask you to look at my solid record of voting against up-zoning, spot-zoning, and other deviations from our established zoning regulations which benefit an individual or a project – not the community. Zoning laws exist to provide a balance of uses necessary for a functioning community – without any constraints, property owners would convert to the highest-revenue use. For Palo Alto, that would be "goodbye" to retail and homes, "hello" to office buildings. Zoning laws provide predictability to the property owner and those nearby. They are intended to constrain development on individual properties to their fair share of infrastructure, such a streets and parking.
I have never voted to grant exceptions to any project that would negatively impact traffic flows, especially around major traffic arteries, like Embarcadero and Alma. Or on a Safe Route to Schools street like Bryant.
I believe Conditional Use Permits (CUP) need to be enforced: They are granted as a balance of benefits and restrictions on the property. If a change is requested, the existing CUP must be followed until that change is officially approved. Otherwise, CUPs are meaningless.
City Council hearings and decisions on matters such as Castilleja's expansion plans, CUP and similar zoning issues are known a "quasi-judicial hearings". That is, the Council is in the role of a panel of judges listening to evidence and arguments and rendering a decision based upon that. Councilmembers are expected to come into the hearings with an open mind. If a Councilmember has previously made statements indicating that they won't/can't be impartial, they are expected to recuse themselves, and may be challenged to do so if they don't. The recusal removes them from participation in the discussion and the decision. Statements made as a candidate can also result in recusal.
If a candidate or Councilmember tells you that they will support your position on a quasi-judicial matter, they will be disqualified from voting on that matter. Thank you.
Be well; my best.