Jul 122014

Group’s ballot proposal would complicate development in downtown Menlo Park, consultant says.

A proposed ballot initiative pushed by a group of Menlo Park residents called “Save Menlo” could significantly complicate future development in the downtown area, according to a consultant’s analysis publicly released Thursday night. Continue reading »

Jun 232014

Eric Filseth announced his candidacy for Palo Alto City Council today. Eric’s top priority will be issues important to residents – traffic, congestion, city infrastructure and services, and a sensible zoning and development policy that considers cumulative impacts on livability in Palo Alto and the integrity of our public school system.

“Palo Altans are at an inflection point,” Eric said. “Over the next council term, we’ll make decisions that shape the character of our city for many decades to come. To preserve and enhance the things that make Palo Alto a great place to live and raise families, within the context of intense regional pressures, is the central challenge before us. I want to help lead this effort. I will always be an advocate for residents’ concerns.”

Jun 192014
New Condos for ECR site

The proposal submitted by the architect, Ken Hayes, for the property at 4146 El Camino Real includes two 3-story buildings with a total of 21 units (7 1-BR and 14 2-BR). The buildings would have underground parking with ingress/egress from El Camino at the south end of the property next to the Zen Motel. In addition there could be separate pedestrian access from El Camino. Continue reading »

Jun 022014

Tom DuBois, a Midtown resident who jumped into Palo Alto’s land-use politics during last year’s heated battle over a housing development on Maybell Avenue, announced Monday that he will seek a seat on the City Council in November.

A technology executive who currently works In the video-game Industry, DuBois became engaged In civic Issues as part of a citizens referendum in opposition to Measure D. The referendum also gave birth to a new residents’ group, Palo Alto for Sensible Zoning, which includes DuBois and leading Measure D opponents Cheryl Lilienstein and Joe Hirsch. A native of Warren, Ohio, DuBois lived in Washington, D.C., and Southern California before settling in Palo Alto in 1995. He lives in Midtown with his wife, Erina, and two children, who are attending Palo Alto schools.

In announcing his campaign, DuBois said he is “excited to have the chance to serve the people of Palo Alto.”

For more information visit his website.

Apr 282014

After years of comprehensive study, Palo Alto City Staff proposed a Four-Component Organics Facilities Plan (OFP) for a City operated organic waste processing facility. (see Palo Alto Online article)  This is a good, responsible and well-researched plan that fulfills the obligations of the City under Measure E. It would allow the city to proceed with the retirement of the sludge incinerators, and build an energy producing wet anaerobic digestion facility for sludge biosolids and for food. The plan allows further exploration of ways to turn yard waste to energy and other alternative solutions prior to utilization of the area that measure E undedicated.

Meanwhile, a new landfill cap on Byxbee park landfill was recently installed. The new cap maintenance requires extermination of all burrowing creatures from Byxbee Park. Gophers, squirrels, foxes are no longer tolerated at Byxbee – and the food chain is curtailed for raptors, egrets and other species that depend on burrowing animals. Only the wildlife corridor on the undedicated 3.4 acres remain as a viable habitat.

Unfortunately, some (not all) Measure E supporters are now asking to use the 3.4 acres for a compost facility – as soon as possible (see Palo Alto Online article). Pressure by these advocates caused city staff to propose an alternative that would set aside years of thoughtful work, and instead move forward with building a compost facility in the 3.4 acre wildlife corridor, rendering Byxbee park a smelly, inhospitable place for people and wildlife. In a comment on this new action, former mayor and environmentalist Emily Renzel wrote:

Peter Drekmeier is quoted in your article as saying “The report hasn’t been vetted yet”. Our Staff, along with the rest of a 10 member Technical Advisory Group has been vetting the responses to the RFP since last July. These experts are from Stanford, City of San Jose, our Water Quality Control Plant, our Utilities Department and our Public Works Department as well as Consultant Jim Binder who did the ARI Feasibility Study in 2011 (which Peter relied upon heavily in the election). A six member panel comprised of 3 people from each side of the Measure E issue have been reviewing the issue since last December. This issue has consumed hundreds (if not thousands) of hours of staff time, huge amounts of Refuse Fund dollars for studies and for delaying closure of the landfill for two years. I guess “not being vetted” means coming out with a result that doesn’t fit Peter’s hypothesis.

The Palo Alto City Council is scheduled to consider this plan on Tuesday, April 29th, but just two days before the meeting, the proposed alternative has not been made available for public review. This lack of transparency is not acceptable.

UPDATE:  The supplemental recommendations for the Organic Facilities Plan have been published.

Why is it important?

The four-component Organics Facilities Plan (OFP) is a good solution. It gained support from many Measure E supporters and could create a path for reconciliation and healing in Palo Alto’s environmental community.  It would use the 3.4 acres only if no other sustainable, energy producing solution is found. Its the right thing to do.

What Can You Do

Please help us support City Staff and the proposed OFP.

1. Please consider speaking at the City Council meeting Tuesday April 29th in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 250 Hamilton Ave. The item will be discussed at about 8:15PM.

2. Please sign our petition below to email Mayor Sheppard and City Council to direct staff to implement the four-component Organics Facilities Plan (OFP) as proposed by staff and without modification. You may click the ‘Read the Petition’ button to add an additional personal message.

3. If you know decision makers, please contact them directly – time is short.


[emailpetition id=”2″]