Further assault on Democracy by Palo Alto City Clerk



  1. When a developer spoke to the Palo Alto Public Art Commission last night, although she did not even bother to attend the meeting in person, her face was giving 100 percent status and her voice matched her lips moving ;

2) When commissioner Shen asked a question about the difference between the Percent For Art program for private development like Castilleja and public development like Mitchell Park Library her face and torso appeared 100 percent and her lips moved the same as the sound, synchronized;

3) Yet when a Palo Alto resident and citizen like Rebecca Eisenberg spoke to Commission in opposition to the development her image was reduced to about five percent of normal and her voice was processed and her lips did not synchronize with her sound, which was garbled; worse than that, commissioner and acting chair Ben Minaji rudely cut her off exactly at three minutes or two seconds later.

Have we completely lost our sense of what is a participatory democracy, and we only listen to power, we only listen to money and we only process and mediate through these machines? This immediate problem is the responsibility of the City Clerk to fix. People who attend meetings in person should be given greater status not reduced status. As we did for many, many years, and before the pandemic and this so-called “hybrid model”. 

And more citizens should attend the meetings in person and not be mediated through these devices. There were only two citizens at the public art meeting. And only one of the three commissioners present actually lives in Palo Alto, my Gunn schoolmate Lisa Waltuch, a new commissioner.

Please fix this, City Clerk Lesley Milton, and City Manager Ed Shikada.


Coda: within the hour, City Clerk Lesley Milton wrote back to say she would look into my concerns. When I was at Dartmouth I took a class on the American Revolution with Professor Jere R. Daniell; he termed American Democracy an experiment, now 246 years in duration, a striving, and towards a more perfect union, Lord Willing and the crick don’t rise. 

And1: left a voice mail for what Dartmouth lists as his office number: (603) 646-2995 — so much for my ludditism. Professor Daniell, emeritus, my handheld tells me, is class of ’55  (to his father’s Warren Danill ’22) which makes him about 89 years young — and he was about my age when we met.


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
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