City Council & School Board Candidate Forums

With less than fifty days until Election Day, and with many voters planning to vote early by mail, the races for Palo Alto City Council and PAUSD School Board are already in full-swing. There are 10 candidates running for 4 seats for City Council and 6 candidates running for 3 seats on the School Board.

For those still figuring out who they’re voting for, there are a number of forums and debates with the candidates in the coming weeks. All of the following events are online; in most cases, you can use the links to register in advance.

In addition, the Palo Alto League of Women’s Voters is holding candidate forums for congressional, state senate and assembly, and county school board races, and more. Visit their site to register; after registering, you’ll be able to submit questions for the candidates.

College Terrace Volunteers Needed for City’s Emergency Response Team

Palo Alto Emergency Services is looking for one person on every block, or pair of blocks, in College Terrace to volunteer as a temporary Block Preparedness Coordinator (BPC). BPCs are Palo Alto’s most local level of emergency response. Their job is to check in with their neighbors in the case of major emergencies and report needs up the emergency response chain of command. There is supposed to one BPC per block across the city, but College Terrace has only three active at present. So we need some help!

During the shelter-in-place BPCs are being asked to knock on people’s doors about once a week and check that everyone in each house is okay. If people need help, BPCs can help them direct them to the resources they need.

Is this something you can do for either your own block or one near by?

If you volunteer, the city will supply you with an ID, a fluorescent vest, and informational materials to share with neighbors. You can also run through a brief online training module to help you understand what BPCs do.

BPCs report to a central Neighborhood Preparedness Coordinator (NPC) in each neighborhood. College Terrace’s interim NPC is local resident Andrea Edelman, who also works for the city’s Office of Emergency Services. Please contact Andrea if you are able to help keep our community connected and resilient at Andrea.Edelman@CityofPaloAlto.org

Grocery Store Penalties at City Council on Monday

Greetings to neighbors and others who supported Khoury’s Market and want to voice your concerns either in writing or in person to the City Council for its Monday, February 10th meeting.

Two items on Monday’s agenda are related to the market and the monetary penalties incurred due to the failure of the owners (past and present) of College Terrace Centre to provide for a grocery store as agreed to in a restrictive covenant of 2014. The items are numbers 3 and 9 on the City Council’s meeting agenda – read the agenda here.

Starting with number 9, because this is more easily grasped, is a proposed amendment to the City’s administrative penalty schedule to correct a long overdue oversight and increase the penalties to the intended amount beginning at $2,000 per day.  Please write the City Council that you are in favor of these needed changes at city.council@cityofpaloalto.org.

Item number 3, which will be heard earlier in a closed session, relates to existing litigation brought by the property owners against the City of Palo Alto questioning the penalties, including whether the city has the right to enact any penalties at all. While the City argues the penalties are legal, the City has not stated whether it intends to try and recoup the lost revenue due to the oversight and delay in implementing the fines in the amount of $250,000.

Pressing for this money would not only increase pressure on the owners to provide a market but also add to the funds for which these fines are earmarked, i.e., community benefits. If you agree the City should pursue this lost revenue, either come to the City Council meeting and speak at 6:15pm or email the City Council at city.council@cityofpaloalto.org.

–Ann Balin