Tales of 2.0 Palo Alto Cities

I greeted activist Herb Burok today, idling on Waverley near Hamilton and he mentioned that the recent election six weeks ago was a mixed bag: he noted that the losers got more votes than the winners. I’ll believe his math but say that Rebecca Eisenberg, Steven Lee, Cari Templeton and three others got more votes than Pat Burt, Greg Tanaka, Lydia Kuo and Greer Stone. Rebecca got 7,000 votes on her first try. Ed Lauing meanwhile got 10,000 votes as an also ran but he had been in leadership for about 10 years already. Which I guess muddies Herb’s point in that Rebecca works for change, Ed works for power.

I jumped on my bike and cruised downtown and shot about 32 photos that document our duality. We have sites associated with billionaires like Laurene Powell Jobs, Peter Thiel and Marissa Mayer and then places where I know I can find certain down and out people, the homeless, the humble, the great unwashed.
Sure, homelessness is a complex issue and maybe dealt with directly and indirectly at federal, state and regional levels, but you would think Palo Alto could do better. Better than handing out some soup at First Methodist. If we had merely taxed the 10 biggest companies here, we’d have a billion in reserves and not be cutting library hours and the wages of librarians. We suck. But we rock. Roll with me people:

1. I noticed my neighbor pulling a tray of lemons from her tree, and stopped to chat. I had never actually noticed her tree before that moment. She offered me some but I said we had two plants or trees of our own. Or our HOA does.

2. I shot the driveway of this new house because 3 of it’s 5 bedrooms are underground. This was written up in the Wall Street Journal, maybe snarkily, hard to say. It’s certainly a corporate asset and rumour are that it is under the personal control of a notorious founder; when the guests arrive a team of security say “all clear” rather than “have a nice stay”.

3. Even with COVID-19 about a dozen people were lined up for Colette’s croissant. I don’t know if the owner is actually named Colette or it references the French writer (who shares my January Aquarian birthdate). See also: the former Ramona’s pizza, which my friend L_ said was also a character in a PIxies song. I was once L’s date to the holiday party of a start-up that was at Los Altos Country Club, if that fits here. (My dad was a member there, late in his life, as is my Dartmouth classmate Dr. Andrew Gutow, the hand specialist).

4. Another shot of the line for Colettes’. A former mayor lives on the same block, plus there’s a marker for a former medical clinic.


5. I don’t know this woman nor do I like their goods as much as my wife does, but I like this shot of the worker cleaning the glass, on Bryant Street.

6. Graffitto or tag on Federal property near Johnson Park. The lady who lives there is the mother of an old friend and enjoys yoga and biking.

7. Hotel President apartments conversion to hotel called The Graduate is still a sore spot for many activists and citizen who think leadership kowtows to power.

8. Five hundred University is a new building with office above retail but I think the mix of shops was better before. There is an art space that is a token nod to there being more in our world and Palo Alto besides money money money.

9. This is either a very chill and humble CEO or a very tech oriented homeless guy. In front of a former yoga studio turned start-up turned start-up again.

10. My least favorite development was turning the Varsity theatre into office space for SAP and Cisco. “Cisco Tetration Analytics” is a cool name for a corporate division but what a fucking waste of a space. Cisco is a $TK B market cap and SAP is another $1B market cap so they don’t really need the cool “creative office” thing. Fuck you guys. The landlord said the meeting space with co-working on the first floor would “rock” but when I tried to put a jazz show there they said they don’t do live music at all.

11. I was targetting the labyrinth but duly noted “Margot’s Tree” at the church, All Saints Episcopal. I’ve seen concerts at this church.

12. Palo Alto Sport and Toy is gone, replaced by a spiffy facade for nothingness. At least they mended the Greg Brown (“Aunt Betty” approximated) mural when it was tagged.

13. Yesterday I saw a woman talking to the man in this car, late morning. Not sure how long he’s been in that exact spot. It’s a sad scene, that Toyota Cellica.

14. Across

Headquarters of Laurene Powell Jobs’ Emerson Project, formerly the Nevada Building where poet Laureate Al Young used to write, as well as a studio for Terry Acebo Davis my future wife.


17. City Hall — we can do better; it’s a little disconcerting for government building to be closed, compared to letting citizens enter with masks to do business.

and and or bw:

under Dr. Steve Levy’s econ blog:

I’m not going to argue with you here, and having perused the report itself and your summary, but roughly speaking if Palo Alto had taxed just the top handful of corporations here, between 2009 when I started following local politics and when Covid-19 hit, as every other comparable City has done, we’d be sitting on a billion dollar surplus and not laying off librarians. Our version of “Triple E” is more like “Eeek!” leaders afraid of landlords like little old ladies afraid of mice, or they’ve trained us to run thru the maze for a nibble of their cheese, excuse the miced metaphor. Or, EEK A MOUSE

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, and blogger; he also sang in local choir, fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32 Reads 'Howl' and owns a couple musical instruments he cannot play
This entry was posted in filthy lucre, Plato's Republic. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s