Invitation to Participate

Hello, this is Tim Gray.

Thank you for logging on and participating in this website and campaign for City Council of Palo Alto. I am very interested in knowing more about how you feel about various City of Palo Alto decisions that we as community are facing.

This is a campaign of ideas, and I welcome the chance to respond to your suggestions and questions. If you would like me to get a question answered from some branch of the City Government, I will track down the response for you. You have my full attention and focus.

You will be able to vote for four candidates. I would like the chance to earn one of your votes. Click on the "Contact Tim" on the left of the screen and send me an email.

Comments

Unsolicited Email Says it best about infrastructure

Tim,

met you at the bagel shop this lunch hour. As I said, running for the
council does seem like an exercise in public humiliation, but I have
decided to vote for you because of your interest in fiscal discipline. Both
my wife and I can only be viewed as very liberal democrats, but we will
vote against most bond measures until we get some confidence in the city's
financial priorities. Mundane
tasks such as undergrounding of electric utilities get chronically
forgotten. My relatives from Finland were absolutely shocked with the ugly
display of powerlines & telephone poles , something you see only podunk
villages over there. And I do not want to even discuss what happened to
the sewer projects. We will not vote for any library bond issues, all of
that seems to be about anything but actual library services --- we use the
Mountain View library: they (unlike Palo Alto) offer the link plus service
to university libraries. And I was appalled by the "new" city web site.

Overall, there seems to be an endearing but shabby quality with just about
anything the city offers. I do not understand why this has to be, given
the wealth and intelligence around here. I hope you can help.

All the best,
Name removed to respect confidentiality

Text of Tim's email response to Infrastructure concern

Thank you for your very helpful comments. I know a lot of people agree with your view that the City has to demonstrate best practices in the Business of being a service organization before others are willing to toss in more cash.

Just look at the standards that the large charitable foundations have for supporting not-for-profit organizations -- i.e. "your own house has to be in order before funds will be provided."

Applying benchmarking to the budget and demonstrating best management practices must be achieved before the City can ask taxpayers to chip in. What is standing in the way of the library and public safety facility bonds is the belief that the City has not demonstrated adequate financial care in daily operations. It is urgent that we address that concern head-on.

We can fund things like the underground utilities if we apply just a little fiscal discipline in City operations, and stop thinking that just because there is the appearance of a little surplus, we can just spend it. Thanks for reminding me of my interest in advocating for taking a longer-term view, which will address infrastructure needs that can be conveniently overlooked in any one budget year. I am not a not a name caller, but our current infrastructure deficit is an accumulation of short-sightedness.

Best regards,

Tim

What Can Downtown Businesses Expect from Tim?

A recent email question:

I am curious to hear from you your thoughts on what type of support the downtown business community can come to expect from you once (you are) elected to City Council.

Tim's Email Response:

To answer your question, let me say that the Downtown has been my playground for 20 years, and I love the activity and personally would like to have a variety of places and things to do to assure that we keep our European-style village (read my bio and that is exactly why I chose Palo Alto). I want to do whatever the prescription is to keep the charm and make it a magnet for pedestrian activity. I am going on the assumption that the "pedestrian activity" means people with money in their pocket and that they spend it.

If we don't retain our original charm, we would risk just becoming a manufactured "Santana Row" of sorts. Inviting, fun, and charming along with safe and clean would be the qualities that I would think of as goals. As a Council member, I would not put myself in the position of being the physician -- I would ask the business members what they want. Since the downtown is one of our central treasures, I would rank it high in the priority list of expenditures. I don't know the prescription, but I do think we could work towards more inviting walkable community and social space. Maybe that would mean expenditures on the configuration of sidewalks and parking. The business community and the patrons of those businesses would inform a plan that would then need to be funded by the Council.

My push for benchmarking and responsible spending within the City's operations should yield some savings that can be redirected at this infrastructure need. It is clear that I would be biased towards any measure that made my playground better -- however I can't write the plan without doing a lot of listening first. I am a downtown business owner, and I love my perch above Nola's looking out on Ramona St.

Please let me know your thoughts and we can continue this discovery.

Best regards,

Tim Gray