County Supes support Buena Vista kids with $8 M earmark, in Palo Alto
Betty Peck, Saratoga’s fabled “Fairygodmother of kindergarten”, was a secret and perhaps hermetic lobbying force in the Santa Clara County Supervisors unanimous 5-0 decision to earmark $8 million to help 100 families with kids form an HOA and ward off their eviction by an evil dwarf of a landlord.
Mark Weiss, Peck’s student at Foothill Elementary of Saratoga, in 1969-1970, forty-five years prior, used his 66-second address to establish his credentials in urging the vote, to support about 200 kids currently attending either Barron Park, Terman or Gunn, schools with which he is associated.
“I’m from Palo Alto, like Joe Simitian, his Paly to my Gunn, and a couple years behind, but I also attended Foothill school here in the 408, in Saratoga and had the famous teacher Betty Peck, in a true kindergarten. She even had us to her fantastic spread in the Saratoga Village, with a train set — perhaps the source for my interest in public transit — and she cultivated and sent us home with pollywogs — my environmentalism. Basically she said ‘play fair’ and ‘learn to get along’ which evolves into my concern for these my neighbors, Weiss said.
About 20 other speakers spoke on behalf of the plan to convert a group of tenants into a home-owners-association, with the help of a team of pro bono lawyers and a ethics-oriented bank, who had offered $14 million to a plan months prior. The landlord, Jisser, rejected the offer, and a fair profit, in hopes that the real estate rout in Palo Alto would continue, that leadership here would upzone, to double his money and let him dip his beak before the drawbridge lifts to the magic kingdom of neo-Feudalism.
“I have what I call an ‘old school’ understanding of Democracy, as was taught in Saratoga and Palo Alto schools in their pre-Prop 13 heyday — maybe most of you as well — so to me it is still ‘one-person, one-vote’ and not ‘one-dollar, one-vote’ so staff, as you instructed, should grab the hand of the owner and grab the hand of the residents’ advocate and help them shake on a deal.”
Weiss, in his first time addressing the 70 Hedding group, and wearing slippers (Crocks, not glass) — he embodied something that Supe Chavez had referenced moments earlier on the prior item, of people watching and following the proceedings from comfort of home, but then suddenly remembered this opportunity and tore out of his breakfast at 9:30 to make the 25 minute drive South from Palo Alto, so appeared rather under-dressed, especially compared to the tailored suit he wore 12 hours earlier at Palo Alto Council Monday, tracking the developers and office space (he actually came from a funeral, of a Carmelite nun, Sister Maria-Immaculata of the OCD, order of barefoot nuns).
“Last time I spoke on this” he had started, before identifying himself, although he exchanged nods with Joe as he filled out his slip, “I referenced Matthew and ‘the least of my brethren’ but this time, consistent with the change in venue, I’ve switched to Dr. Seuss and The Sneetches since I am wearing the tell-tale yellow sticker KEEP B.V. IN P.A succinct if a little vague, please note for the record –so I am saying it aloud — that mine is not on the shoulder but on the belly and in the traverse meaning topsy-turvy position so I can read it to you.”
Weiss succeeded Theodore Seuss Geisel as a Dartmouth humorist, he for The Dartmouth, Seuss for The Chapparal; Weiss says he never met Geisel but did meet Budd Schulberg (“On The Waterfront”) at a reunion of student press of Dartmouth.
“I don’t actually know Jesus either, but I was Bar Mitzvah’d by Rabbi Sidney Axelrad at Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, who told me he named me ‘Moshe” because he thinks I should aspire to leadership among my people” thus spoke the three-time aspirant to Palo Alto City council to his alter ego the even lowlier blogger.