Open letter to Doug Moran of Barron Park

Edit to add, three years later: I would not recant this per se but would say that 1) I do respect and admire Doug Moran and his role in local public affairs and 2) I do admit that in the excitement of a campaign I can lack some self-editing. I think of local politics as a bit like intramural sporting events in which during the actual match the blue team competes against the red team or what not then after the match is over you can shake hands and move on. I’m adding this preface rather than taking down this post. Doug is a little different but that adds and not detracts from the world.



I am the Residentialist, you, sir, are a cyber-squatter

subhead: momentum or geometric progression

Doug, why do you call me “Repeatedly unsuccessful candidate(s)”?

I would say, on the contrary, going from 800 votes in 2009 to 5,700 in 2012 shows considerable momentum. You’ve studied math, right?

Also, I was the one who, after Matt Bowling’s book came out, in tribute to Enid, starting calling this movement “Residentialist” or “new residentialist”. It’s in my 2012 ballot pamphlet statement and blog of the time. Tim Gray and I both used that term in the campaign, uniquely.

I was neutral on the referendum but in a lot of ways my 2012 campaign both predicted and influenced it.

What is your problem?

Mark Weiss

any by the way, I am writing this on a Mac Pro, while sitting thru in person the PARC meeting, where I spoke earlier tonight about PARK IN VENTURA, ON 15 ACRE FRY’S PROPERTY. You idiotically claimed that I was unfit to serve in 2009 because I did not have all the trendy gear of the time. I also have a smartphone.

So far I have about 20 endorsements and expect to garner more than 100 by November. I suspect that at least 10 percent of the endorsers of the so called slate will eventually vote for me and maybe endorse — among current or ex council. I will ask each of them in person.

I am predicting 10,000 this time.

Also, I am the most organic candidate in that I am a product of the schools here, and have been here the longest. Again, what is your problem?

And by the way, registering a domain name (“residentialist dot com”) does not make you a stake-holder in the debate or definition of the issues.


Residentialists – Palo Alto California

2014 City Council Election

The term residentialists is being resurrected by the press and others for the 2014 Palo Alto City Council Election. There is no declared Residentialist faction or slate, but various candidates are using residentialist in talking about their positions. However, there is no formal adoption of this term—since I own the domain (and have offered its use), I would expect to be among the first to know.

Widely identified as residentialists (alphabetically):

Tom DuBois: campaign website and PA Weekly article

Eric Filseth: campaign website and PA Weekly article

Karen Holman (incumbent): campaign website

Lydia Kou: campaign website and PA Weekly article

Ones widely regarded as establishment/pro-development:

Greg Scharff (incumbent):

Nancy Shepherd (incumbent): campaign website

Cory Wolbach: PA Weekly article

Repeatedly unsuccessful candidates

John Fredrich: PA Weekly article

Mark Weiss: blogging website: PA Weekly article

New to Palo Alto issues

A. C. Johnson: PA Weekly article

Seelam Reddy: PA Weekly article

From Matt Bowling’s site, and my only quibble with Matt’s work is that it seems to be mostly a summary of existing sources and not original research:


For years, “representative businessmen” had governed Palo Alto without much opposition. But in the 1950s, Palo Alto grew at a dramatic (some said alarming) rate, doubling in size from a population of 25,475 in 1950 to 52,287 in 1960. Some worried that growth might continue unabated from the foothills to the bay. Ironically, those who first challenged the city’s growth largely came from the newly developed regions outside of downtown. This group, known as the “Residentialists,” favored slower growth and distrusted large commercial and government projects. In 1962, the Residentialists found an issue to rally around — opposition to the highly controversial Oregon Expressway. Although the road was eventually built, Palo Alto’s first anti-establishment political force solidified in the campaign to oppose it.

And soon the Residentialists began to chip away at the Establishment’s power. In 1961, NASA physicist Robert Debs won election as the first Residentialist council member. Two years later he and Enid Pearson led a successful court challenge to the city’s practice of spot zoning and forced the adoption of a Master Plan. Residentialists Kirke Comstock and Phillip Flint were elected to the Council in 1963 and then Pearson, Edward Worthington and Byron Sher won in 1965. The council was now divided 7-6, with the Establishment holding a narrow one-seat advantage. And tensions were flaring.

edit to add, the next day: I sent this around to a few people who know us both, but resisted sending it to Neilson Buchanon’s “reply all” (as I did with my sample ballot statement on council composition). The line “I am the Residentialist, you, sir,are a cyber-squatter” came to me as I awoke this a.m., although it also references Daniel Webster in 1817 as every Big Green reader will surely note…it also reminds me that someone said I should treat uber-developer Jim Baer with kid gloves on the account on his bike accident — I was troubled by the peculiarity and irony — some months ago of his producing a $250 per plate Martin Luther King event, on public property, while leadership concurrently was trying to ban the homeless from sleeping in cars.(section edited in 2017: references to boxing movies and metaphors for trying hard). Whether I expressed this to him or not, I had thought about challenging him, in reference to his dissing of my STEM skills — I was in the top 5 percent certainly on standardized testing in my day — to a debate based on the work of “Logicomix” the nexus of Bertrand Russell, Cantor, Godel and of course my close personal friend the late Paul J. Cohen, Stanford first Fields Prize winner. Not that I want to convince him one way or the other, just that, within a set of rules I would wager you the reader would not be able to discern the computers doctoral from the Dartmouth English major on caffeine. Resolved: I would rather have disproved Hilbert’s First Problem than taken Quebec. Doug? Any time, any place, give me ten minutes or ten weeks to prep. Your call. Coin flip ten minutes before match indicates which side each is on. (or ten coin flips one minute before match: if all ten come out heads he agrees to write “Weiss rocks my multiplication tables long-time” on his site; if it comes out tails ten times in a row, I will write, here, “Doug Moran is not a zero, he’s the one”).

edit to add: more on Doug Moran weekly site:
For the record, the person I left the ice cream table to go talk to was Trina Lovercheck of LWF. The ice cream had run out, Kerry Yarkin was off to the market, and the line was slow. Later Trina came and found me and said the ice cream was back and now there was a line. The next shift quickly showed up to relieve us three (MW, NS and LK). What’s the big deal?

It’s notable that you slag me again, Doug, rather than taking the time to say something relevant or intelligent. (In 2009 you bemoaned that I did not own a computer, for instance).

And by the way, even though you lump me in with Wayne, Sea and John, I’ve been to about 100 public hearings or meetings between 2009 and last week, which I am sure is more than those three combined, and probably more than anyone else in the race, save incumbents. And like I said above, I’ve written 200 articles on policy, plus easily another 200 comments here. (Although my impression is that John Fredrich, years ago, was quite engaged, and his observations are relevant today, I’d like to hear them).

Actually your term “personal blog” is a misnomer; I think of the internet as a business tool and my blog as somehow related to my writer’s and consulting business or practice.

And by the way, it may interest you to know that, despite the fact that I am commenting here, I am boycotting the Palo Alto Weekly and it’s candidates vetting, partly because of the way you treat me, and your association with them here, partly because likewise Steve Levy but mostly because Bill Johnson is refusing to investigate or even leave a record of my claim that (section edited in 2017: about Grand Jury report and prominent developer and council member I was critical of)

I will respond to questions posed by reporters but won’t sit for him and their content-generation. I won’t sit for a photo either. As someone trained by real daily newspapers, I contend that part of our morass is the fact that local press is too tied in to the developers to cover the issues or the candidates.

I don’t think Palo Alto is serious about Democracy.

And 1:
Palo Alto deliberately runs its elections as a horse race meaning too fast and too little discourse. Favoring incumbents and Establishment. I am reacting to your term “early”. The election is only 6 weeks from now. On Monday candidates are to speak for 30 seconds each, and about two minutes total, at a Rotary club meeting. This is not discourse. This is a game show.

edit to add, Sunday morning, Sept. 21, 2014: all of the above, that I added yesterday, have been deleted from Doug’s Weekly column, so I added back the link to here and a few more thoughts. Notable, that I only referred to obliquely is that Doug Moran claims to work on the Lydia Kuo campaign (her neighbor) — I wonder how mutual the passion is.

This is like a cross between “King of Comedy” and “My Year of Meats”

Doug it is not that you haven’t seen enough of me, over five years (!) but that you pathologically will not say anything fair, relevant or intelligent about me or my work. Which is your right, certainly as a citizen, but I think journalists, or columnists or even bloggers should probably have a higher standard. Or if you are leadership either in your neighborhood, or PAN.

What exactly is your problem? I’m calling you out.

Or why don’t you go full-Stalin and simply delete all reference to my campaign, pretend I am not on the ballot.
And by the way I know Wayne Douglass and he is significantly smarter and a better person than you. (I didn’t recognize his name at first but when I saw Wayne, a few weeks into the campaign, I realized that he and his wife were supporters of my 2009 campaign, and we have a mutual friend in Aleta Hayes, who sang at two of my 2009 events).

haven’t read this, but it popped up on my search engine when I typed in something about what I perceive as Doug’s problem — I am a fan of Upton Sinclair, which the book supposedly references, in the way that Packer’s “the unwinding” does Dos Passos.

Somewhere in all this I believe I have extended to him the challenge that I believe I know more about math per se than he does, despite his PhD in computers; I want to debate him on the field described in Logicomix, Bertrand Russell Meets Cantor, Godel and Cohen.

edit to add: my post has lasted at least 4 minutes; a total of about 1,000 have seen Doug’s article, which implies that maybe someone else will read my post before it is deleted. The first version was more succinct, like what I would say to someone in real life who abused me like this. But I do admit: I have no idea why this page is mostly in italics.

an hour later, responding to a troll:
History Buff is being inconsistent in that he asserts (I guess, I am only guessing) that something about my post cancels out anything else I can say or do either between now and election — 6 weeks — or over the past five years — 2009, 2012 campaigns — I’ve actually lived here on and off since 1974 and arguably have a record of public service since being a student rep to SIP and SITE for Terman in 1977 — YET he also provides a link where PAN has more info on me, or more of my thoughts. Ok.

But don’t take his advice if you already hate me and don’t read any of the other 200 articles I’ve written on policy on my own blog (and 700 posts about culture and the arts), Plastic Alto.

And in theory in keeping with the Stalin-esque theme here, this, like my previous four or five posts, will be deleted in a matter of seconds, like a message to Mr. Phelps in Mission Impossible.

History Buff, do you have a name, sir?

I would add that Wayne Douglass I take over you, a hundred times in a row. Barroom brawl, double date or parliamentary debate.

By November 4, or December 4, we will know the will of the people.

My theory is that potentially Maybell Referendum is a red herring, we don’t know why people voted in that case as they did, and the Slate or a movement of so-called Residentialists (yet excluding, for example, Tim Gray and I, who discussed this term in 2012, and got 7,000 and nearly 6,000 votes) is like building a castle with too few bricks. Slate or no slate, the same 50 people show up at every campaign kickoff and there are 15,000 possible voters.

I think most people read or glance at the ballot statement pamphlet.

So write what you want, Doug Moran. And delete as your under-educated, Stalinist-leaning — and this is not an ad hominem it is based on empirical observation of your actions — self is inclined and compelled to do. And let’s just see what the other 59,000 Palo Altans not your readers do, say or think. (edit to add in 2017: yes, ironic that I have edited some parts from here: I’m trying to be more civil)

There is a leadership problem and we need to fix it but like in Jack London’s “Iron Heel” it may take 500 years.

paste in the History Buff comment:

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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