You Have Spoken

Dear Palo Alto neighbor:

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My heartfelt thanks to everyone who took the time to complete my online survey regarding Palo Alto's 2020-2021 

City Budget. Your thoughts and ideas are very important to me … as a Councilmember I am your voice on the City Council and I want to be able to accurately reflect the community during the very difficult budget decisions we must make for the 2020-2021 budget in the post-pandemic era.

I have included a summary presentation of the final results of the survey. The overwhelming consensus of 650 residents was that cuts should be made in the use of consultants (92.6%), salaries of city employees (90.8%) and large infrastructure projects (80.0%) but not in public safety (80.0%). Preliminary information was presented to the Palo Alto's City Council on 5/12 and 5/13 during our three day budget session. The final summary will be presented at the budget hearing on 5/26.

Let me also invite you to continue to provide me with your ideas for the future of Palo Alto which you can do by leaving a comment on my website or by joining me at my weekly video chat. I look forward to our continued conversation. 

Thank you again for your interest and participation.

Be well.

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Palo Alto Budget Survey

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May 9 – 23, 2020

 

SUMMARY OF RESULTS 

 

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Parks_Priority

 

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Infrastructure_Projects

 

Infrastructure Priorities #1

 

Infrastructure Priorities #2

 

Infrastructure Priorities #3

 

Services

 

Public Safety

 

Administration and Management

 

Finances

Results have been updated as of 5/24/20.

 

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Plan Bay Area 2050

In the midst of the unprecedented COVID-19 shelter-in-place with all its disastrous consequences — some of which will significantly impact future planning for the Region — MTC/ABAG is nonetheless rushing ahead to assign “housing needs” numbers to our cities this summer,  without any input from the affected communities. We have never needed fair, effective, and thoughtful regional growth planning as much as we do today.  Our very lifestyle and the quality of that lifestyle depend on it. It is essential that we have a planning process for our future in which everyone who is critically impacted by this growth can take part in decisions that affect them deeply.

Increasingly, citizens in the West Bay are demanding to understand the full impacts of new policies and to know the costs of full mitigation!  And, specifically, they are asking for an opportunity to have open public discussions of goals and real input to resulting policy decisions. The global COVID-19 pandemic has and will continue to affect planning profoundly -- many assumptions will need rethinking!

Please do not let unelected agencies like MTC/ABAG and Big Business usurp our City Council’s rightful roll as the focus and driving influence of effective and balanced local zoning and spending decisions. They are rightly the voice of the people that these plans will impact.

But, the City of Palo Alto City Manager and Council majority will not agree have a public study session or discussion about MTC/ABAG’s Plan Bay Area 2050 and Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA), so I have been following other cities’ when they have theirs. I want to alert you to an opportunity to learn more about the growth that is planned for Palo Alto by regional entities. 

Next Tuesday, May 19th, Cupertino City Council will be conducting a Study Session on the Plan Bay Area 2050 and Regional Housing Needs Allocations (RHNA). It includes impact of Jobs-Housing Balance and Jobs-Housing Fit to RHNA.

May 19th, 2020 regular meeting starts at 6:45pm.  It is Agenda item 22.

https://www.cupertino.org/our-city/videos-on-demand/all-televised-meetings

Attachments:

1. Staff Report, 2. A - Plan Bay Area 2050 Memo, 3. B - Regional Housing Needs Allocation Memo

  • The MTC/ABAG has adopted Growth Geographies for each city: basically areas within 1/2 mile of bus lines with 15 min frequency of service during peak time and 1/4 mile of bus lines of 16-30 mins during peak time.
  • The City has an opportunity to nominate new/expanded Growth Geographies through May 31, 2020. (Note the wording... the City can only ADD to what MTC/ABAG has already adopted.)
  • Particularly since SB 375 does not require a local jurisdiction’s General Plan to be consistent with the regional plan. => Meaning... MTC/ABAG's regional plan could violate a local jurisdiction’s General Plan => The regional plan supersedes the local General Plan?
  • MTC and ABAG staff has been discussing the form of development envisioned in the different Growth Geographies. For example, in the HRA’s with a basic bus service, multifamily development in the form of two-story tri- and four-plexes are envisioned while in TRA’s, larger multi-family development in the form of three- to five- story buildings are envisioned

May 31st is the deadline for the Cities to respond on the MTC/ABAG adopted Growth Geographies.

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Online Meetings, Parks and COVID-19

Dear Palo Altans,

I am offering online/phone office hours

Chats with Lydia (via Zoom) 
1st and 3rd Tuesdays 

11:30am - 1:30pm

Please register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwkceioqjkqEtITNpZQF5BTTCxzhTYrwJC8

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. If you have trouble registering, please email Kou.pacc@gmail.com


Today is the 14th day since the Bay Area-wide shelter-in-place order went into effect, and the 11th day since the State-wide executive order for the same.

The City has had to make many difficult decisions since the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic, and this week, the decisions do not get any easier we came to the decision to close the parking lots of the open space preserves. At this time, Palo Alto parks and open spaces are still open. Please, please comply with the 6-foot physical/social distancing and avoid group gatherings. FYI, San Mateo County has closed all its 23 parks and MidPen Open Space has closed Windy Hill Open Space Preserve.  

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Why Scott Wiener's SB-50 Won't Get Us Affordable Housing

On March 30, 2019, 48 Hills in San Francisco presented a very informative talk by “geographical economist” Dr. Michael Storper entitled “Why Scott Wiener’s SB-50 Won’t Get Us Affordable Housing.” The two videos below are Dr. Storper’s talk and the Q&A session that followed.

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We Are Still Under Attack

It’s not over… SB-50 may be shelved temporarily, but we are still under attack by Sacramento! There are a slew of other state/assembly bills that are moving forward which, if passed, will eliminate local governance over land use and zoning. Most of these proposed bills aim to eliminate single family neighborhoods.

These bills will be voted at the Capitol by the Senators and Assembly Members, not by you and I. We have No SAY, even though it will directly impact us in many ways; mentally, physically and financially.

On June 8, 2019 Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning (PASZ) held a rally at the corner of El Camino Real and Embarcadero Rd. to support local control of zoning.
View the photos.

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CADEM Assembly Election

Dear Palo Altans,

I am learning so much and I want to share. Please excuse and forgive me if what I am sharing is something you know about already. This is information about the Assembly District Election Meeting (ADEM) of the California Democratic Party and the election of the ADEM delegates. 

Date: Saturday, January 26, 2019

Time: Doors open 10:00am

Speeches begin: 10:15am

Registration/Voting starts: 10:45am

Registration/Voting ends: 12:45am

Location: Hillview Community Center, 97 Hillview Avenue, Los Altos, CA 94022

As stated on the CADEM website, the Assembly District Election Meetings (ADEMS) are held every two years (Saturday, January 12 or Sunday, January 13 and Saturday, January 26 or Sunday, January 27 of 2019) to elect 7 "self-identified female" and 7 "other than self-identified female" to be Assembly District Delegates (ADDs) to represent the Assembly District they are registered as a Democrat in.  

AD Delegates to the Democratic State Central Committee (DSCC) are responsible for planning and attending informational meetings throughout the region and working with other DSCC delegates throughout California to represent their community. 

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Stop the MTA CASA Compact

2019 is starting off busy with many proposals lining up in an attempt to trump local land use and zoning governance, all of which will further erode quality of life and deteriorate the uniqueness of our cities and character of our neighborhoods.
I particularly want to bring your attention to the MTC/ABAG CASA Compact and San Francisco’s Senator Scott Weiner’s Senate Bill 50 (his previous bill SB 827 was vetoed). I am writing about the CASA Compact because time is of the essence.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) adopted and approved a radical and aggressive plan to address housing in the Bay Area through a plan called the CASA Compact (https://mtc.ca.gov/sites/default/files/CASA_Compact.pdf).

The CASA Compact proposes ten “elements” for state legislation which supposedly, will solve the housing “crisis” by focusing on the 3 P's (Production, Preservation and Protection).  Recognize, this is going to be enforced by the State through a regional body which has appointed representatives, not elected officials.

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Roads, Roads, Roads

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Caltrain Electrification

Caltrain representatives held a community meeting on August 28, 2018. Here is a link to their presentation http://calmod.org/wp-content/uploads/PCEP_Community_Presentation_Palo-Alto_Aug.28.18_Final.pdf

Here are my “take aways” from this meeting:

  • There is a “paralleling station” at the Page Mill Road rail location, Caltrain representatives explains it to an electrical station for the electrification.
  • Caltrain has started their construction work in Palo Alto, in particular what they call “foundation potholing”. Some of the construction work does take place during the night time from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 am. Caltrain representatives say that they try to decrease the light and noise intrusions by using barriers that lessens these impacts.
  • The trees and shrubbery that have provided aesthetics and noise barrier between homes and the railroad and trains will be trimmed extensively or removed. There are over 200 trees that will be removed and Caltrain representatives indicate they will be replacing removed mature trees with baby trees and have really not provided good answers to the replacements.

Caltrain representatives were adamant that Caltrain’s electrification project has no bearing on a city’s grade separation

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Rail Crossings Grade Separation

The potential of home/property takings by eminent domain has been taken off the table for the Churchill, East Meadow and Charleston areas. Residents should continue to monitor and to be aware and hold Council and City Staff to task on ensuring that there will be absolutely no property takings.

You should be aware of the following possibilities, even though staff report indicates “return to Council with a report on the impacts…”;

  1. Street Closure at Churchill Avenue (full or partial) – commit to adopt appropriate mitigations to address diverted and additional traffic on Embarcadero Road and minimizing cut through traffic into the adjacent neighborhoods.
  2. Street Closure at Palo Alto Avenue – build a bike/pedestrian crossing undercrossing and widen University Avenue.
  3. Loma Verde Avenue – build a bike/pedestrian crossing to connect Margarita Avenue. Will there be home/property takings by eminent domain?

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