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Check out some recent Registered Statements from forum participants

Becky Sanders in Ventura January 22, 2020, 5:58 PM

1. I would like us to get real about the fact that no for profit developer is going to build the housing we need without exacting concessions from the city, such as allowing more office development so they can get maximize the return on investment. More offices will exacerbate our already grotesque jobs/housing imbalance. We need a way, way, way out of the box, non-profit solution. As a city, we need to get into the business of buying property and converting it to affordable and BMR housing. That is the housing that we need. We are meeting our goals for market and luxury housing. Let's put a cap on those! And let's find those expert non-profits that know how to build this kind of housing. What financial products can be structured. Can we apply for grants? There must be a way to raise some capital for such a worthy endeavor. No new office space, period. Not until we are at 1-1 ratio workers/housing units.

2. I would like to see civility at the dais be a priority at all levels of government - starting with the council, and going right down to the commissions, boards and committees. I urge the meeting chairs to give equal time to all voices and to have zero tolerance for any funny business up on the dais, whether it's talking abusively to another body member or calling out someone in the audience. Let's embrace civic engagement and have productive meetings with a specified goal of reaching consensus.

3. I would like to see some progress meeting the needs of our vehicle dwellers. Allowing faith communities to provide safe places to park is a good start. The housing crisis which I alluded to above has forced even tech and construction workers as well as the working poor into their cars and mobile homes. It's a public health crisis as well as a humanitarian crisis, particularly when children are living with such instability, and when the streets and parks serve as their waste management solution. Let's find a way to get folks off the streets and into more stable, if temporary housing solutions, while we sort out how we are going to pay for the housing that we need.

Thank you.

Ken Joye in Ventura January 22, 2020, 4:06 PM

In the fall, I picked up a volume at a local bookstore entitled "No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference", which is a set of speeches made by Greta Thunberg (if you have not read it, I will loan you my copy). As she forcefully states, addressing climate change must be a priority for us all. I urge you to consider all issues before you through this filter; you can take steps which will make a difference. I won't presume to suggest which steps are most important: changing the economics around housing construction? compelling fewer single-occupancy vehicle trips? addressing *both* sides of the jobs:housing ratio? Thank you for your service!

Name not shown in Midtown/ Midtown West January 22, 2020, 3:10 PM

A "climate protection-related public relations" educational campaign to "create a sense of moral imperative" as recommended by the 2007 Palo Alto Green Ribbon Task Force. This should help explain the broad rationale for anti-pollution efforts, i.e., 80 x 30, which is to mitigate the over-heating of our global climate. As well as the big, and foreboding, picture, such a campaign could also include education about local housing and transit efforts, along with household carbon footprint plans.

For more information, please see https://coolcalifornia.arb.ca.gov/household

Name not shown outside Palo Alto January 22, 2020, 2:47 PM

League of Women Voters of Palo Alto Statement on City Council Priorities 2020

The city should make production, not merely encouragement, of low and moderate income housing (including for the missing middle) a high priority and adopt dramatically different measures than it has adopted to date. Impact fees have been depleted, highlighting the need to find new sources of financing. Some ideas include bond measures, headcount or other taxes on large employers, using public land for housing (e.g. Cubberley), adopting a “no-net loss of housing” ordinance, use of eminent domain, transfer of surplus lands to affordable housing organizations, mixed-use developments, partnering with nonprofit developers, community land trusts or shared equity housing cooperatives, and investigating new sources of financing by partnering with social equity funds, pension funds, or banks with a commitment to housing people currently unserved by market rate developers.

The severe lack of housing affordable to low and moderate income households has created a social and environmental crisis, threatening our community’s character and diversity, and making it impossible for essential workers to live here.

The League of Women Voters position is that decent housing, affordable to people of all income levels, is a basic right and that public policies should promote this outcome. Homelessness, the lack of affordable housing and climate change are League legislative priorities. These two topics are closely related: a 2017 Terner Center UC Berkeley study found that creating infill housing would be the one policy which would have the greatest downward effect on greenhouse gas emissions for Palo Alto.

The shortage of housing for working people has caused people to live in their vehicles or on the street; schools, public institutions, health care industries, the nonprofit sector, and retail businesses are unable to hire or retain employees; long commutes generate significant greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to global warming. Those able to find housing here often spend up to 50% of their income on shelter, leaving them on an economic tightrope. These conditions are unacceptable.

Council recognized housing as a priority in 2018. Its Housing Workplan required the city to adopt policies which would encourage housing for all income levels, including the middle class, as required by state law. The city has not finished that part of the Workplan which addresses new policies for housing for the missing middle, ironically because of the short staffing in the planning department created by the housing shortage. We urge the city to focus on implementing policies relating to missing middle housing.
Terry Godfrey
President, LWV Palo Alto

Stephen Rock in Charleston Terrace January 22, 2020, 10:51 AM

1) Better Transportation
a) grade separation of RR
b) Improve Public Transportation system with more buses.
c) Smart and maintained signal lights coordinated over many blocks
d) Safer and more bike routes.

2) Cost effective reduction of CO2 output by reducing waste
a) No outdoor heating
b) Outdoor lighting off during day
c) Store doors closed when heating/air conditioning on
d) Solar and Wind from least expensive sources (probably not rooftop)
e) Prioritize parking for small cars (fuel efficient).
f) Parking fees for cars to encourage bike and bus

3) Enforcement of Traffic laws

4) Encouragement of the arts by subsidizing theater, music, etc.

Name not shown in Palo Verde January 22, 2020, 8:53 AM

1. Our water. Is our water really safe? EWG believes there are issues. Why are water quality issues so hidden?
2. Our electric grid—are we ready for electric cars? Almost every house on my street has at least 1 electric car and some families have 2. Are we keeping lines clear of trees and other hazards? We had a 3.5 hr power outage in our neighborhood in December due to a tree hitting the lines.
3. Taking care of community plantings and trees. On the bicycle boulevards and public library and community center, who is responsible for taking care of the plantings? Plantings require weeding, pruning and upkeep (replacing dead plants etc). They are not getting it—not on Ross Road, not at Mitchell Park Library/Community Center.
4. Hidden costs of going green. For example, building permits costs for electric car chargers, gray water etc. We need to create incentives for people to go green.
5. Communication. I had to specifically search for this survey. Most people don’t have the time and really have lost that sense of civic responsibility. I get emails from all kinds of organizations every day. Where is Palo Alto in this? Our social media, out-reach e-mail marketing and website are far behind in functionality and reach.
6. Where is our high speed rail? Let’s bite the bullet and get our baby bullet train. We say we want to change. We say we want to really do something to stop climate change. I just don’t see it happening. All talk and no action. Yes, it is hard and we must do it. Real, concrete projects, not just waving hands.
Thank you so much for this opportunity to share.

Cherrill Spencer in Barron Park January 22, 2020, 12:10 AM

In October 2018 the Palo Alto City Council directed staff to study and return to the Policy and Services Committee with options for a City Ordinance endorsing the United Nations' Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The Policy and Services Committee has yet to direct staff to start this study and so we remain ignorant of the extent to which women and girls who live and work in Palo Alto suffer discrimination and how the City could amend its policies to counter this discrimination. I request that the Policy and Services Committee, chaired in 2020 by Councillor Alison Cormack, make it their top priority to direct city staff to start work on an ordinance based on the principals of the United Nations' CEDAW. See the pertinent resolution of the Palo Alto City Council here: https://www.cityofpaloalto.org/civicax/filebank/documents/67315

Name not shown in Old Palo Alto January 21, 2020, 8:54 PM

After 5 years the City needs to finally address, in a meaningful way, the jet traffic that has been shifted and concentrated over the residents of Palo Alto. The City has done nothing effective to this point.

Susan Voll in Barron Park January 21, 2020, 12:51 PM

I am very concerned about the continued growth Palo Alto is experiencing. Can we please stop adding office space to this little city?! Every time a new office is added we offset our working/living ratio more, bring in more traffic, and put more stress on city services. Every time we add more housing we bring more traffic into the city, add to bulging attendance in the schools and again put stress on city services. Property values go up and long time residents and treasured businesses are lost. Not everyone can live in Palo Alto, not everyone needs to live in Palo Alto or work here. Geographically we are a small city, let's not add more and more houses and businesses than we can harmoniously sustain.

Name not shown in Duveneck/ St Francis January 21, 2020, 12:09 PM

1. climate change - 2. housing. 3. transportation 4.inequality