Five years in with my “constructive engagement” project, which comprises three runs at Council and now five runs for commission or boards and I have to admit I don’t think I know what is actually going on here. Even becoming conversant on more than 200 projects and issues, I wonder what it is that leadership per se knows, that informs policy, but doesn’t tell us.
I am reading the Comp Plan, the existing Comp Plan, the one that is being furiously outdated, yet relevant nonetheless, from 1998-2010 officially.
There’s a meeting tonight, if we want to be super-current.
The other day I was driving south thru Professorville and noted a van painted like the Mystery Machine from the popular cartoon series “Scooby Doo: Where are You?” and it occurred to me that maybe our politics is like the show and eventually a mask will come off or a fog will lift and we will understand what is happening here and why. I still maintain for instance that leadership listens to developers (of commercial real estate, a billion dollar industry just here) more than the rank-and-file and that leadership is therefore not complete representative of nor responsive to, We the People.
Every episode of the original Scooby-Doo format contains a penultimate scene in which the kids unmask the ghost-of-the-week to reveal a real person in a costume, as in this scene from “Nowhere to Hyde”, an episode of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! originally aired on Septem
I don’t think we have responded adequately to the Grand Jury Report of June, 2014, the one that said we did not follow procedure in dealing with the interest of John Arrillaga in building an office tower complex at 27 University.
I am a dissident and part of the dissent here, even though I’ve been here since 1974 and have been actually quite engaged with the community virtually all that time.
The press, especially the Weekly and the Post paints me in grotesque terms, that border on the Sullivan standard of reckless disregard for the truth. And more to the point they cover doings here with a pronounced pro-developer bias.
Maybe Plastic Alto, over these last five years is the best readable-viewable picture of what is Palo Alto. One of my models is Sherwood Anderson “Winesburg, Ohio” which I read as an undergrad and mean to re-read. Makes me George Willard, I guess. (If I’m not equally influenced by Ring Lardner, “Haircut”, Faulkner, Dos Passos, Hemingway, Stegner, Dao Strom, and Marlon James “A Brief History of Seven Killings”; I’m also meaning to take in, perhaps as soon as today “Leviathon” — I do think about Nemstov; also I was trying to think of the circus Leopard the false baby in “Bringing Up Baby” as a metaphor for the politics here, the other night)
Or as Bob Marley say you can fool some people some time but you cannot fool all the people all of the time.
edit to add: if there is some take on Palo Alto or Deep Palo Alto that is informed by study of Russia, and the Nemtsov* case, “Leviathan” film is the long way home, as is the Bloomberg cover story on the Ukranian-American banker Natalie Jeresko. The Granby, Colo. “killdozer” case that supposedly inspires the Russian film is interesting reading but pretty far from useful. *If you are going to write about Nemtsov and Palo Alto that is a different post.
A point about our Comp Plan, although we incorporated in 1909 we did not adopt our Comp Plan until 1966, when citizens sued the City to finally do so. Even the 1998 version seems more like what we think someone wants us to say, than what we actually are. I am arguing that we are gutting that rather than refining it. The document may have always been flawed.