Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Planet Palo Alto

It's always fun to see a politician fight to win an election by highlighting his differences with other candidates, then, in victory, urge everyone to forget their difference in favor unity. At the very least it's a self-serving Rodney King type 'Can't we all just get along' statement. Such was the case with Palo Alto mayor Jim Burch in giving his state of the city message. He won, now its his job as a politician to convince others to follow not ask for a blind following.

Burch comes to office by way of a career in advertising--the Cling Peach Advisory Board was one of his clients. Currently he serves with the social activist organization Foundation for Global Community--one of the many groups that dot the landscape of every college town. They have a modest agenda of saving the planet using mind numbing proposals as their tools.
...but his heart is in more significant issues affecting society well beyond our community, such as what he calls the relationship of the human species with the living earth.
--Palo Alto Weekly
Mayor Burch stepped out smartly in his state of the city talk by suggesting that everyone walk, bike, car pool, take public transit or work at home one day a week in order to help with traffic congestion. No doubt this "eat your broccoli" idea bubbled up in a FGC focus group. I wasn't aware that traffic congestion was that big of a problem, but traffic congestion, or lack of congestion, is a measure of the local economy--more congestion indicates a better economy. Mayor Burch seems to be tacitly endorsing the Bush economy. This, in turn, goes a long way towards demonstrating how to put aside political differences.

Burch singled out the new bicyle tunnel on Homer Street as a plus for the city and the budget deficit ($5.2 million) is a minus. Interestingly, without the $5.2 million bycycle tunnel the budget would balance. Of course that would burden bicyclists into pedalling two more blocks to the University Avenue underpass. Looking ahead, Burch indicated a few things he wanted to accomplish during his mayoral term; a new children's library, renovating park bathrooms and play equipment, building a new police station as well as 'putting in a plug for storm drains', although the idea probably involves the opposite of plugging.

Planet Palo Alto is off and running (or car pooling).

3 Comments:

Blogger Mike Liveright said...

Just to clarify, since: "The $5.4 million construction project is being funded almost entirely by Federal/State transportation funds and private development fees" even if the bike tunnel were not build, it would not have saved the City much money directly.

Note:

. 1) I was against its original construction even if we of Palo Alto did not pay much for it as it did seem to me to not be Cost Effective.

. 2) The fact that we get the Benefit and its costs are paid for by the State and Fed. leads to such Local Pork Barrel. I suggested that they might be reduced if 2) Tax rates adjusted to state benefits

2:09 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

In that case Palo Alto should have broadened the request in order to qualify for more money. It the feds can afford $5.2 Million for a bike tunnel just think what could be had if they'd have outlined a proposal to include Amtrak, affirmative action, American Disability Act, anti-terrorism, and light-rail.

2:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe they should have looked for funding for the psychological divide.

4:57 PM  

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