Past Meetings

City Council Meeting - Monday, September 28, 2020, 5:00 PM

Update on Race & Equity Work, Pulling out of Local Visitor's Bureau, and New City Auditors

Agenda & Outcomes

Outcomes coming soon!

5:00 PM CLOSED SESSION*: Discussion with City Attorney about potential lawsuit by NAACP about Foothills Park access.

6:30 PM Update on Race & Equity Work

7:30 PM Oral Communications*: Your chance to speak about anything.

8:35 PM Consent Calendar: Items 4–9 on the agenda, to be voted on all together.

8:50 PM San Mateo County Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID): Should Palo Alto withdraw?

9:45 PM City Auditing: Approval $1.3M Contract with Baker Tilly for Internal Auditing Services and Appointment of City Auditor.

City Council Meeting - Monday, September 21, 2020, 5:00 PM

Rail Grade Separation and Affordable Housing Requirements

Agenda & Outcomes

Outcomes coming soon!

5:00 PM Oral Communications - Your chance to talk about anything not on the agenda.

5:30 PM Consent Calendar - Items #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, all voted on together.

5:45 PM Rail Grade Separation - Update from Expanded Community Advisory Panel (XCAP).

6:45 PM Inclusionary Housing Requirements - What zoning changes can be made to encourage a greater proportion of affordable housing to be built?

8:15 PM Planned Home Zoning Affordability Requirements - What requirements do housing projects have to meet in exchange for the ability to exceed certain zoning regulations?

City Council Meeting - Monday, September 14, 2020, 5:00 PM

Lobbying in Sacramento, Safe Parking, and COVID Business Recovery

Agenda

Outcomes coming soon!

5:00 PM Commissioner Appointments - For the Human Relations Commission and Public Art Commission.

5:30 PM Oral Communications - Your chance to speak about anything.

6:05 PM Consent Calendar (Items 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

6:20 PM Study Session on Bills from 2020 State Legislative Session

7:15 PM Public Hearing on Allowing 24-hour "Safe Parking" on City-owned Sites

8:15 PM Update and Next Steps on COVID-19 Business Recovery Efforts

9:15 PM Which State or Local Ballot Measures Should the City Officially Support or Oppose?

City Council Meeting - Monday, August 31, 2020, 6:00 PM

Interviews for Human Relations Commission and Public Arts Commission

Interview Schedule

Scheduled Interviews

It's not clear whether public comment will be taken for the commission interviews, but if you are interested, we suggest joining the Zoom meeting at 6:00 PM sharp to see if they will take public comment at the beginning of the session. Otherwise, email is also a good option (scroll down for more info on emailing Council).

Click on the candidate's name to see their application.

Human Relations Commission

Public Arts Commission

7:40 PM Oral Communications - Your chance to speak about anything.


Your Guide

What is the Human Relations Commission (HRC)?

The HRC is a group of 5 Palo Alto residents who can make recommendations to City Council regarding fair and equitable treatment or access to resources in the community along lines of race, gender, religion, etc.

Most recently, the HRC was tasked by Council to review the #8CantWait policies and their alignment with Palo Alto Police Department policies.

See Municipal Code Section 2.22 for a more complete definition of its jurisdiction and authority.

What is the Public Arts Commission (PAC)?

The PAC is a group of 5 art experts who advise the City on public arts displays and installations.

It's notable that, unlike the HRC, the members of the PAC do not have to be Palo Alto residents, but they must be "members of the architectural review board or be professional visual artists, professional visual arts educators, professional visual arts scholars, or visual arts collectors whose authorities and skills are known and respected in the community and, whenever feasible, who have demonstrated an interest in, and have participated in, the arts program of the city."

See Municipal Code Section 2.18 for a more complete definition of the commission's composition and requirements, and Municipal Code Section 2.26 for a full list of its duties.

City Council Meeting - Monday, August 24, 5:00 PM

#8Can'tWait, Race & Equity, and Closing the Utilities' Revenue Gap

Agenda & Outcomes

Councilmember Votes and Outcomes*

5:00 PM Oral Communications - Your chance to speak about anything, as long as it is NOT on the Agenda.

5:35 PM Consent Calendar - $1.9M Page Mill Safety Project Approval and Second Reading of New Parking Ordinance

Outcome: Passed unanimously.

5:40 PM Power Play - Should City Utilities trade in-state renewable energy for out-of-state renewable energy to save money and keep rates low?

Outcome: Unanimously authorized Staff plan to exchange in-state RECs for out-of-state RECs (Motion Text), and passed second motion directing Staff to return to Council with review of the impact of this new plan on the Carbon Neutral Plan by 2024, with a focus on using out-of-state RECs to "neutralize any residual emissions resulting from the switch to an hourly emissions accounting methodology", to which Filseth dissented (Motion Text).

6:30 PM #8IsWaiting - Should Council accept the Human Relation Commission recommendations on implementing 8 Can't Wait in Palo Alto?

Outcome: Unanimously passed motion directing City Manager to revise PAPD use of force policies, with six general recommendations around chokeholds, de-escalation, etc., and to come back to Council with the final policy. The six recommendations were based loosely upon a subset of the HRC recommendations, with some additional language advocated for by the Police Department (Motion Text).

8:30 PM Race & Equity - City Staff to provide an update and ask Council for further direction.

Outcome: No official actions taken by Council.

You can click on each agenda item in the PDF to open attached documents with details. The item descriptions in the agenda don't look like hyperlinks, but they are.

    • Item 3A: Amending the City's Electric Supply Portfolio Carbon Neutral Plan

      • During shelter-in-place, Palo Altans are using significantly less electricity ("10% below baseline levels"), and the City of Palo Alto Utilities "now faces a multi-million-dollar budget gap."

      • The stated goals of this proposal, recommended by City Staff and the Utilities Advisory Commission (UAC), are:

        • Closing the Utilities' revenue gap

        • Holding electricity fee rates steady

        • Maintaining "carbon neutrality"

      • The proposal is to authorize City Utilities to make some money (possibly up to $3 million per year) by exchanging in-state Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) for out-of-state RECs, which are as much as 5 times cheaper.

      • What are Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)?

      • In-state RECs (sometimes called "Bucket 1 RECs") represent an investment in local renewable electricity generation. California's Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) Program requires utility companies to have a minimum proportion of in-state RECs in their energy portfolio.

    • Item 4: HRC Recommendations on 8 Can't Wait

      • Staff recommends Council to:

        • Accept the HRC report on their review of #8Can'tWait.

        • Direct the City Manager to revise PAPD policies in accordance with the HRC report.

      • HRC Report Recommendations:

        • Add "Chokeholds, strangleholds, lateral vascular neck restraints, chest compressions, or any other tactics that restrict blood flow to the head or neck are explicitly prohibited" to PAPD policy.

        • Require clear explanation of de-escalation tactics (like those of SF and Mountain View) and that the language "prior to using physical, verbal, and/or mental, non-deadly and/or deadly force, all law enforcement officers must use proper de-escalation techniques" be added to PAPD policy.

        • Adopt SFPD policy, which states "It is the policy of the department to use deadly force only as a last resort when reasonable alternatives have been exhausted or not feasible to protect the safety of the public and/or police officers," into PAPD policy.

        • Shooting at moving vehicles should be banned unless the person poses a deadly threat.

        • Refer the use of force continuum to the Council's Police Policy Manual, Data, and Hiring Ad-Hoc Committee and that they work with PAPD and the HRC to explore optimizing use of force options

      • Police Response:

        • Sometimes we fall down when wrestling with a suspect and when we do it can be seen as restricting the blood flow to the head or neck. We should not adopt the language recommended by the HRC.

        • Agree with HRC recommendation on de-escalation.

        • Wants softer/less explicit language on exhausting all alternatives before shooting.

        • Strongly opposes banning shooting at moving vehicles.

        • PAPD believes they are already using best practices regarding the use of force continuum

      • Video of July 22, 2020 HRC Meeting

    • Item 5: Update and Potential Direction on the City's Race and Equity Work

      • Staff recommends "that Council accept an update on the City’s Race and Equity efforts and provide possible direction to staff on next steps"

      • City Staff will give a update on the status of the Race & Equity work requested by Council in June.

      • City Council - divided into ad hoc committees - will deliver a report on their work, as well as potential next steps

        • Police Policy Manual, Data, and Hiring – Vice Mayor Tom DuBois and Councilmembers Alison Cormack and Lydia Kou

          • Review best practices and gather thought leader input

            • Explore opportunities for external partnerships for peer review and data analysis, such as affiliations with Stanford University’s SPARQ

            • Consider data analysis with an outside entity

            • Incorporate suggestions from the Human Relations Commission

          • Convene, analyze and recommend changes

        • Public Safety Alternative Models – Councilmembers Liz Kniss and Greg Tanaka

          • Conclude preliminary evaluation of Public Safety Alternative Models

          • Pursue opportunities for “apples to apples” comparisons to other jurisdictions including collaboration with Stanford University

        • Police Accountability and Transparency – Vice Mayor Tom DuBois and Councilmember Eric Filseth

          • Reviewing the Public Records Request process and information releases from the Police Department as well as examining the potential to remove redactions from the Police policy Manual

          • Reviewing Independent Police Auditor policies and turnaround time

          • Reviewing the Disciplinary record policy, specifically retention, use for hiring, and transfers

          • Examine options for publicly reporting statistical summaries and review the policies for releasing information about individual cases

*As part of this adhoc, a request for a legislative update on police reform was made and is discussed below

        • Citywide Diversity and Inclusion – Mayor Adrian Fine and Councilmembers Alison Cormack and Liz Kniss

          • Further City Council discussion and possible adoption of Mission Statement

          • Establish ongoing City Council updates, including work with professional organizations and other jurisdictions

          • Continue engagement with the community and workforce on race and equity efforts

      • Council will also discuss additional Race & Equity work such as:

City Council Meeting - Monday, August 17, 2020, 5:00 PM

"You can't build that there!"

Agenda & Outcomes

Councilmember Votes and Outcomes*

5:00 PM Appointing a City Auditor - Closed Session, but public may speak at the beginning. [Outcome not public.]

7:00 PM Oral Communications - Your chance to speak about anything, as long as it is NOT on the Agenda.

7:35 PM Consent Calendar - One item: Staff seeking approval of some edits to the Utilities Rules & Regulations that were left out of the original approved resolution. [Outcome: Passed unanimously.]

7:50 PM Home Court - Can the owner of 2353 Webster St demolish their one-story house and build a new two-story house? [Outcome: Fine, Cormack, and Filseth tried to approve the project without conditions, but Kniss, DuBois, Tanaka, and Kou voted instead to force a redesign of the house, along with a list of other conditions.].

9:00 PM Power Play - Should City Utilities trade in-state renewable energy for out-of-state renewable energy to save money and keep rates low? Moved to next week.

Agenda (PDF)

      • Appeal of Two-Story Family Home (full document) [Agenda Item 2A]

        • This is a "quasi-judicial" case, meaning that City Council is acting like a court of law, with an obligation to review the facts and make an objective decision on the matter at hand.

        • The plan to build the two-story home had been approved by Planning and Development Services, but a neighboring household filed an appeal, which brought the matter before the City Council for judgement. The case was included in the Consent Calendar for the May 18 Council meeting, but three Council members then voted to remove it from the Consent Calendar to give it a full public hearing during this August 10 meeting.

        • The main point of contention is protecting an Oak tree, which has a 60 ft TPZ (Tree Protection Zone). More details can be found in the linked document above. Also, there is a Tree Technical Manual you can check out - who knew?!

City Council Meeting - Monday, August 10, 2020, 5:30 PM

Choosing Commissioners, Extending Summer Streets, Housing, and More

Agenda & Outcomes

Councilmember Votes and Outcomes*

5:00 PM Oral Communications - Your chance to speak about anything, as long as it is NOT on the Agenda.

5:15 PM Consent Calendar - Items voted on together in one batch, including levying new property taxes to repay Measure N bonds.

Outcome: Consent Calendar passed unanimously with Kou voting no on #5 and Tanaka voting no on #2.

5:30 PM Choosing Commissioners - Who should the Council interview for the Human Relations and Public Art Commissions?

Outcome: Council will interview all 7 candidates for Human Relations Commission, but only 4 of the candidates for the Public Arts Commission, based on their professional background in art.

6:00 PM Housing - How should the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) decide where new homes should be built in the Bay Area?

Outcome: Council voted to approve Staff recommendations, with DuBois, Filseth, and Kou dissenting.

7:00 8:00 PM Extending Summer Streets - Should University Ave and California Ave remain closed to cars for the rest of the year?

Outcome: Council unanimously approved extending Summer Streets to end of year, with additional provisions around parklets and allowing businesses to charge a "COVID percentage surcharge," among other things.

8:15 10:30 PM Parking Laws - How should Palo Alto update parking regulations to improve accessibility and support charging station installation?

9:15 PM Home Court - Can the owner of 2353 Webster St demolish their one-story house and build a new two-story house? Moved to next week.

*Times listed were for actual or scheduled (if different from actual) public comment times.

Agenda (PDF)

Background

      • Open seats on Human Relations Commission and Public Arts Commission (full document) [Agenda Item 5A]

        • After cutting the HRC from 7 Commissioners to 5 Commissioners, there is one open "partial term" seat whose term will expire on May 31, 2021. The council will be determining which of the seven applicants will be interviewed for the appointed position.

        • After cutting the PAC from 7 Commissioners to 5 Commissioners, there are two open seats whose terms will expire on May 31, 2023. The council will be determining which of the seven applicants, of which two are incumbents, will be interviewed for the appointed positions.

      • Regional Planning Initiatives (full document) [Agenda Item 5B]

  1. HCD (State Department of Housing and Community Development): determines how much total housing the Bay Area region will need through 2030.

  2. HMC (ABAG's Housing Methodology Committee): determines what we should consider when allocating fractions of the total housing needed to specific cities/counties (e.g. Should we build more housing in areas at risk of flooding? Close to jobs?).

  3. ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments): uses HMC's methodology to determine how much housing should be created in each city/county.

        • The City is currently preparing a letter for the ABAG Housing Methodology Committee (HMC).

          • The letter (See Attachment A, p. 14) advocates for a particular HMC "methodology." Each methodology is a different way of determining how much housing each city, including Palo Alto, creates.

      • Summer Streets Program (full document) [Agenda Item 6]

        • Extends the duration of "Cal Ave" and "University Ave" street closures until December 31, 2020.

        • Extends the duration of the Temporary Parklet Program (TPP) until September 7, 2021. Also widens the scope of the TPP to include non-dining and non-retail businesses. The TPP allows businesses to expand their operations into nearby parking spaces to allow for outdoor and socially-distanced business operations.

      • Parking Infrastructure (full document) [Agenda Item 7]

        • Proposed code changes include:

          • Reducing parking stall sizes to accommodate electric car chargers.

          • Allowing 8 bicycle parking spaces to replace 1 required parking space.

          • Bringing local code language in compliance with state-mandated parking requirements related to the California Building Code Accessibility requirements and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

      • Appeal of Two-Story Family Home (full document) [Agenda Item 8]

        • This is a "quasi-judicial" case, meaning that City Council is acting like a court of law, with an obligation to review the facts and make an objective decision on the matter at hand.

        • The plan to build the two-story home had been approved by Planning and Development Services, but a neighboring household filed an appeal, which brought the matter before the City Council for judgement. The case was included in the Consent Calendar for the May 18 Council meeting, but three Council members then voted to remove it from the Consent Calendar to give it a full public hearing during this August 10 meeting.

        • The main point of contention is protecting an Oak tree, which has a 60 ft TPZ (Tree Protection Zone). More details can be found in the linked document above. Also, there is a Tree Technical Manual you can check out - who knew?!

City Council Meeting - Monday, August 3, 2020, 5:30 PM

Opening Foothills Park to Non-residents, Ballot Measure to Fund Caltrain, and More

Agenda

Public Comment** on Action Items:

5:30 PM How Should City Council Run Their Virtual Meetings?

6:10, 6:30 PM Public Comment on Non-agenda Items (Your chance to speak on anything, as long as it is NOT on the Agenda)

7:34, 7:05 PM Should Palo Alto Allow Non-residents to Visit Foothills Park?

11:10, 8:30 PM How Should Palo Alto Engage with Regional Planning Initiatives? (Plan Bay Area 2050 and Regional Housing Needs Allocation)

12:00 AM, 9:30 PM Should Palo Alto Support Placing a Caltrain 1/8-Cent Sales Tax on the November Ballot?

**Actual, Scheduled (if different from actual)


You can click on each agenda item in this PDF to open attached documents with details. The item descriptions in the agenda don't look like hyperlinks, but they are.

Background

      • Access to Foothills Park (full document)

        • Discussing one-year pilot program to allow non-residents to visit the park.

        • Non-residents would have to reserve their spot online and pay $6, with a maximum of 50 non-resident permits given each day.

      • Regional Planning Initiatives (full document)

      • 1/8-Cent Sales Tax to Fund Caltrain (full document)

        • Council is deciding whether to request that the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors support placing a sales tax that would help fund Caltrain on the November 3rd ballot this year.

        • The ballot measure would be voted on by all of Santa Clara County, including Palo Alto, and if approved, the sales tax would be implemented at the County level.

        • Council is NOT deciding whether or not to implement the sales tax.

        • Council is NOT deciding whether to put the sales tax on the Palo Alto municipal (city) ballot.

        • The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors previously decided to defer the decision for such a ballot measure to Aug. 6, which is the last day to approve ballot measure for this year.

        • Caltrain is struggling to stay afloat amid plummeting ridership (SFGate)

* Actual, Scheduled (if different from actual)