The future of Palo Alto’s treasured Foothills Park has become a critical issue that will have a significant long-term impact on our quality of life. Historically closed to non-residents — unlike all of our 37 other parks and open spaces which are widely used by residents and non-residents alike — there has been increasing pressure, much of which is from outside our community to open the Park to non-residents. As the maker of the motion to put this issue before the voters of Palo Alto on the 2022 ballot, I would like outline my approach and, in the process, correct some misinformation presented by the media coverage. For more details, please watch the video of the meeting .
As a Councilmember, I have emphasized throughout my term a dedication to being a true representative of and voice for the people of our community. Accordingly, in anticipation of the Council deliberation of this issue, I conducted an extensive on-line poll of the community. The results of this poll were strongly in favor of NOT opening the Park to non-residents.
At the Council meeting, a motion was made to implement a staff recommendation for a one year pilot program to open the Park to non-residents with a limit on total access and for staff to return with other alternatives to open without limits. Rather than responding directly to the immediate political pressures of the moment, and in the continued spirit of my belief in reaching out to the community on the big issues, I made a substitute motion to place the issue on the ballot in the 2022 election. Subsequent Council action amended my motion by adding back the pilot program ... which I accepted in order to assure that my basic motion to take the issue to the voters would succeed.
Included in my motion was to change the name to ‘Foothills Nature Preserve’ ... which I believe is important because this Park is a true nature preserve and that the real underlying reason for restricting occupancy is to keep the Park from overuse (consider Yosemite, for example) that would destroy it as a preserve. Those who have claimed that the current use restrictions are ‘racist’ could not be more wrong. Another amendment to the motion was that any wider use of the Park should be ‘revenue-neutral’, an important consideration in these fiscally difficult times with pandemic-driven cutbacks on important community services.
Consideration of opening of the Park raises many issues ... limitations on the number of visitors per day, the possible need for a reservation system, fees to be charged, and more. The pilot program may help us understand and answer these questions. I look forward to the continued input of the community as we address this issue in the months ahead.
Once again, to guide my work as a City Council member, I asked for the opinions of Palo Alto residents on a key issue that will impact all. This issue is on the City Council agenda for August 3, 2020. And 1129 of you responded and gave me your opinions. I would like to thank you for your help in my effort to make City governance responsive to the wishes of the residents.
As I did with my Budget survey, the results of this survey are now available to my City Council colleagues and the public.
If you want to learn more about the issues, click here.
Results of the Survey
A survey was conducted to assess the opinions of the residents of Palo Alto regarding the proposed opening of the Foothill Park to non-residents. The survey ran from July 28, 2020 to August 2, 2020. A total of 1129 responses were received.
To ensure our FAIR representation at the State House, in the US Congress & our FAIR share of over $926B of Federal + State aid.
Please Complete your U.S. CENSUS
Complete it once for your entire household.
LOG ONTO: my2020census.gov
FILL OUT & MAIL: your paper 2020 Census form, if you got one
CALL: 1-844-330-2020 (English) or 1-844-468-2020 (Spanish)
US Census enumerators – census takers – will be knocking on the doors of those who have not completed their census beginning August 11th
Dear Palo Alto neighbor:
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.
Palo Alto Budget Survey
May 9 – 23, 2020
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
Results have been updated as of 5/24/20.
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.
- 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.
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:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. If you have trouble registering, please email Kou.email@example.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.Read more
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.
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.
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.Read more
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.Read more