MARCH 20: Ask Council Not to Gut the Comprehensive Plan

On Monday, March 20th, 2017 the City Council will discuss and give direction to Staff regarding the organization of the Comprehensive Plan.  This discussion is wide-ranging and is scheduled from 7 to 10 pm.

We encourage you to attend the March 20th City Council meeting at 7 pm to urge the City Council to respect eight years of work by numerous individuals including the current Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC). The City Council should re-think their Jan. 30th decision to “gut” the Comprehensive Plan by separating Programs from Policies.  In many cases, the Policies without the Programs are too vague to be meaningful.

Save Palo Alto’s Groundwater members and supporters attended various CAC meetings and provided input on the value of groundwater and soils, their importance on mitigating floods and droughts, groundwater and climate change and safety issues regarding dewatering and construction in areas with high water tables.  The CAC, Staff  and consultants listened and incorporated some of our input into Palo Alto’s draft  Comprehensive Plan.  All this input is lost and the Policies greatly weakened when we have the Programs that would support the Policies relegated to at-will appendices.

If you can’t attend, please email the City Council,, and let them know their decision, without discussion on Jan. 30th broke the community’s trust by not valuing the time and effort of the former and current members of the Citizens’ Advisory Committee, Staff and consultants plus the input of many residents, including Save Palo Alto’s Groundwater.

Thank you for your support!


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1 Response to MARCH 20: Ask Council Not to Gut the Comprehensive Plan

  1. Betty Jo says:

    here is the memo I sent to the City Council last Thursday.


    To: Palo Alto City Council
    Subject: Comprehensive Plan

    I request that the Council reconsider its high-handed actions stripping implementation programs from Comprehensive Plan Elements with neither consideration nor debate.

    Policies cannot provide the guidance needed for our city to navigate the challenges we face without the programs intended to actualize them.The Citizen Advisory Committee Recommendations considered Programs and Policies together because one informs the other.

    The manner in which the Council made this decision on 30 January, also dismisses the value of collaborative and consensus driven government as demonstrated by the City’s Citizen Advisory committees and commissions. This is our democracy and we ought to stand up for it.

    The Council’s wholesale removal of programs to appendices rejects out of hand, without public debate, years of work from dedicated city staff and citizen volunteers to develop a proactive plan with policies and programs to address the issues of greatest import to our citizens.

    It was not only the hundreds of hours of collaborative effort by staff and CAC members that were disregarded by Council action, but also all the other Palo Alto residents who are represented by them – citizens who take to heart the importance of participatory democracy.

    I fear both Council and community will live to rue the day when such cavalier disrespect for both democracy and citizen participation drives away those volunteers who do so much to make this a community where we wish to live. Why should any resident answer your calls to donate their time and effort providing volunteer staffing for all the tasks the Council recruits for and the City depends upon?

    I appreciate the efforts of citizen volunteers on our City commissions, committees, boards, schools and services. I value the quality of the work product produced by the CAC. I want and expect the City Council to respect it as well.

    Please reconsider your decision, and return programs to where they belong, along side the policies they are intended to effect.


    BettyJo Chang

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