Weiss declared winner on cost-basis

Palo Alto activist, blogger and political reforming Mark Weiss, and Bettty Peck of Saratoga, a retired teacher he has known since 1969

Palo Alto activist, blogger and political reforming Mark Weiss, and Bettty Peck of Saratoga, a retired teacher he has known since 1969

Weiss declared winner on cost-basis tally

Mark Weiss, spending $1,000 out of pocket yet garnering 2,171 votes was the winner in the Fall Palo Alto election, as tabulated on a cost-basis. He spent a mere 46 cents per vote.

Karen Holman, the mayor, who Weiss endorsed and voted for, came in second. She won the popular vote with 11,281 but spent $25, 391, or $2.25 roughly four times less popular than Weiss, by these measures.

Tom Dubois, a first timer, but who benefitted from PAC support from shady organizations like PASZ (people for sensible zoning, supposedly raising out of the Measure D Maybell discussion, but arguably vice versa, a group fighting a straw man argument to generate candidates for election; and Vote For Four by Larry Klein ally and supporter Fred Balin) got 10,097 on discrete spending of $23, 858 or $2.36 per vote, or roughly the same as Holman and again significantly less efficient than Weiss. DuBois was a founder and board member of one of the supposedly independent groups PASZ from which he benefitted.

Another newcomer with a similar background, and like Dubois a gray-suit corporate executive, Porsche-driving executive if you really want to be specific, although he also has a Tesla, Eric Filseth, and each running on a New Residentialist platform actually written by Weiss and Tim Gray back in 2012, got 9,248 but spent $27, 675 or $3 per vote. That is six times worse than Weiss did (Weiss, who drives a four-cylinder Chevy, on which he owes $7,000 still).

Nancy Shepherd, who Weiss endorsed and voted for, a sitting mayor, spent $3.80 for each of her 6,724 votes, but wasn’t able to win re-election, according to Breena Kerr of the Post.

All the remaining vote getters finishing above Weiss in the popular vote spent between $3.12 and $11.27 per vote. They include:

-A.C. Johnston, managing partner at MoFo Law, $59,000 or more than $11 per vote.
-Incumbent Greg Scharff, a foreign born real estate lawyer, landlord and developer, re-elected after spending nearly $10 per vote, and $96,000.
-Lydia Kou, also representing real estate interests and divisive in her own neighborhood, Barron Park, who spent $40,000 on her campaign but drafted along with the so-called Residentialists and shady Measure D people, to nearly get seated, at $5 per vote at least.
-Cory Wolbach, like Weiss the only other PAUSD graduate in the ballot but with half his life experience, was seated with 8,235 on $25,683 and had the backing of the “continued rapid growth Establishment” to Weiss’ “agitator in the form of wanting continuity over 40 years here”.

Weiss said his stance on spending — he made a few yard signs, some buttons and a jingle, all out of pocket — is in sympathy to the notion of “one person one vote, not one dollar one vote and Corporations are not people, in the wake of Citizens United and McCutcheon”. Advisors like Matt Gonzalez — a former SF supervisor and Green Party candidate for U.S. Vice President, who endorsed Weiss — cautioned him about the mixed message of his stance. “Not accepting campaign contributions is like hanging a sandwich board on you saying ‘unelectable’”.

Weiss maintains, after 90 days to analyze his 100 day horse race, that the anomalous bullet-ballot slate, and the failure of fair coverage from pro-developer and anti-middle class press like Bill Johnson’s Palo Alto Weekly, themselves holding a $5 M real estate stake at 450 Cambridge and Dave Price’s Post were a bigger factor.

“It’s not just that they did not cover my campaign, but in the case of the Weekly it looks like they plotted to misrepresent me, toeing the line of Sullivan compared to slander.” he said. “If I run again, for council or assembly (Rich Gordon’s seat), I will spend to conform. But there is still nobody else in the public life here credibly representing Democratic values and arguably the special interests such as the billion dollar per year Palo Alto commercial real estate cabal is as effective as it was in 2014, and the disconnect between leadership —- elected council, appointed commissioners and paid staff — especially as indicated by the Grand Jury report, and the needs of the average citizen, is still disturbingly significant. There was a low turnout in a very non-substantive and speeded up, superficial really, horse race, and that does not portend to a sustainable Democracy.

America as it has been for 200 plus years, and Palo Alto post-centennial are at risk, as far as an ethical civilization here.

edit to add: In the school board races candidates spent between $3 and $5 per vote, including Ken Dauber ($3.59), Terry Godfrey (like Dauber, endorsed by Weiss and a winner, $3.41), Catherine Foster ($3.93, nipped by Godfrey by less than 200 votes), and Gina Dalma ($5.35). In the water board race, Barron Park resident the domain name whiz Gary Kremen nipped incumbent Brian Schmidt by less than one percent but outspent him 20 to 1. Kremen spent $13 per vote while Schmidt made a strong showing with a Weissian 75 cents per, well, semi-Weissian.

I went from 900 votes in 2009 to 6,000 votes in 2012 but back-slid a bit here and I am figuring out which possible factors mattered the most. I did add roughly 40 endorsements, yet did not publicize those facts. I also wrote about 140 articles on policy during the campaign but my blog has viewer readers than the other media. Generally what I actually do here as an activist and entrepreneur, and my background in leadership since my school days is generally underreported. It seems the Establishment or the Special Interests are pretty freaked out by me. Next time I may court the Jewish vote more strongly, or those who consider themselves moral by any compass. Public sector is not a business.

I probably have as many votes all time as do Filseth and Dubois, but unlike them my work over 20 years, as Earthwise Productions is integrated to my concern for a better society and not one of these I-made-a-lot-of-money-and-now-I’m-giving-back stances.

the next day: after sleeping on this, it occurs to me that beyond the marginalization of the four candidates who did not file financial documents and spent less that $1,000 on their respective campaign, Breena Kerr and the Post in their procrustean and arbitrary account of the proceedings miss an important point: all four of the candidates, Wayne Douglass, Sea Reddy, John Fredrich and myself received more voter support on a cost basis than did current mayor, the incumbent and leader in the popular vote category, Karen Holman, and by a wide margin. I was the leader among the four, but rather than be dismissed, as the Post does (and frankly, did all along), a real journalist would assess the significance of so many voters seeking out alternative views, and an antidote to our elective morass. Further, Palo Alto, and our backers would concur, might be better served if the overlapping platforms of Weiss, Douglass, Reddy and Fredrich were given some resources, or at least a platform, beyond two or three minutes during open forum, or here in Plastic Alto.  It’s utterly arbitrary to fixate on A.C. Johnston’s campaign and not include us. (Or better: did the power structure draft A.C. to operate as Cory Wolbach’s wingman?)

added a few weeks later: Ken Dauber, meanwhile, had posted in October that he was proud to lead his race in fundraising:
I am very happy to announce that we finished the election reporting period in first place for fundraising, with $29,880, edging out my opponents. Our supporters and volunteers continue to impress and energize me with their enthusiasm for our collective campaign to win a seat on the school board and Put Students First.
As good as this news is — and it is a tremendous victory — the campaign is a long way from over. I am not a professional politician, nor am I trying to become one. I don’t have some endorsements from professional politicians. Because of that, we have to work harder and smarter to continue to get our message of Putting Students First to the voters.
I still need your help. I need to raise another $5000 before the election to continue to do advertising and direct mail. Please donate at kendauber.com/donate.
We are almost there. Help us get across the finish line.

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About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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