Dear Palo Altans:
Voting is a privilege that carries a responsibility to exercise due diligence in making your selections. I urge you to be skeptical of organizational endorsements because they are too often not what they seem, that is, they may not represent the publicly stated goals of the organization, but rather the agenda of the faction dominating the endorsement committee. Although such differences are widely known among political activists, they don't make it to the public because there is no one with first-hand knowledge who is willing to speak for attribution ("on the record").
This year, I sought only one organizational endorsement – that of the Sierra Club's local chapter – and received it. Although I have been a registered Democrat for 23 years, I didn't bother to seek their endorsement because it would have been futile. The Santa Clara County Democratic Party leadership is solidly pro-growth and for increasing the density of our cities and hostile to neighborhoods of single-family homes.
In 2016, the county Democratic Party leadership endorsed two candidates for City Council who, only months before, had changed their registration to being Democrats. Who did they reject? Arthur Keller, a loyal Democratic Party activist for decades. He participated in Party causes and activities. He raised substantial contributions for Democratic candidates from the local level to Presidential. Second-hand reporting was that that was not enough to offset his support for balanced growth in Palo Alto.
In 2020, the endorsement questionnaire and which candidates were endorsed indicate the county Democratic Party's focus. The hostility to areas of single-family homes, technically "R-1 zoning" is sometimes stated directly, but sometimes disguised as "eliminating exclusionary zoning". This includes enabling not just 4 units to replace one house, but tall buildings for apartments or condos being built anywhere in a single-family home neighborhood. And for dense developments not to be required to provide adequate, if any, parking.
Recognizing the unpopularity in many cities of greatly increased density, the advocates have been, with increasing success, stripping decision-making from local governments and transferring it to state and regional bureaucracies that support imposing those changes. I have been fighting to keep the decision-making about your lives in the hands of the government bodies where you can have the most influence.
Returning Your Ballot
If you have questions about voting, a good source is the county's Registrar of Voters (RoV).
If you don't want to return your ballot by USPS in the provided postage-paid envelope, there are many locations where you can physically drop-off your ballot for collection by the RoV. Remember, you need to use and sign the provided envelope because the RoV needs to verify that the ballot is from you before it can be counted. You can find out more about locations and hours of operation for the authorized "Ballot Drop Off" locations from the RoV's website.
As of this writing, the RoV Ballot Drop Offs in Palo Alto are at (ordered northwest to southeast)
- City Hall
- Rinconada (Main) Library
- Palo Alto Art Center
- Ventura Community Center
- Mitchell Park Community Center (and Library)
- Cubberley Community Center
Unofficial ballot boxes (of disputed legality) have been reported in other counties. It is safest to use only the ones listed by the RoV.
I urge you to vote!
Thank you. Be well; my best.