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City Council Candidates Forum
07 October 2009
sponsored by Palo Alto Neighborhoods (PAN)

Introduction: Because of the number of candidates present (13), questions were asked of only a subset. The Red Card is a mechanism for a candidate who was not asked a question to give an answer. Candidates were told that they could use the Red Card twice, but several of the candidates over-used the card.

If you find any significant errors, please report to Doug Moran

YouTube videos: Hour 1, Hour 2


  1. Opening Statements from the candidates
  2. Regarding the city budget, how can Palo Alto spend its money more efficiently? What would you encourage the City to do to increase revenues?
  3. What are the top two financial challenges facing the City and how would you address them?
  4. There is a perception that Palo Alto has too many city employees? Do you agree or disagree and why?
  5. What two things would you do to support retail that could be implemented in a short timeframe, such as a year?
  6. Should Palo Alto consider encouraging "big box" stores to locate in Palo Alto? If so, where?
  7. What is your position on the High Speed Rail project?
  8. Explain the budget techniques that you have used that you think would be most helpful as a Council member dealing with the City's deficits.
  9. Regarding low incoming housing, how do you plan financial feasibility?
  10. What two City Council votes in the past two years, you have strong disagreements with, that you feel were serious mistakes?
  11. (Question was not recorded because of a tape change): As part of your experience, you have cited your role as part of PAGE in making "Civic Engagement for the Common Good" into a Council priority. The phrase "for the common good" is highly controversial. Why was including this phrase so important?
  12. Do you feel the Police Dept needs to improve, and if so, how?
  13. Do you support the closing of the Recycling Center by the Baylands?
  14. Stanford is proposing a massive two million square foot regional hospital that will add to gridlocked traffic, overcrowded schools and calls for more housing. Should this facility be limited in size to a site more feasible for the community?
  15. Recently the chair of the Library (Advisory) Commission resigned after Council rejected recommendations drafted after hundreds of hours of citizen time. This is a chronic problem. Asking for community volunteers and then dismissing their work. Will you pledge to defer to the judgment of these committees, task forces and commissions in the majority of cases. What do you say to the community volunteers who have been burned to convince them to stay involved?
  16. Candidate closing statements (in reverse alphabetic order)
Candidate NameRed card questions
Gray5 (twice),
Shepherd 1,3,14