Eric's First Term

 

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A TRACK RECORD OF WORKING FOR RESIDENTS

I've had the honor of serving Palo Alto residents on the City Council for the past four years.  Since you elected me in 2014, I’ve been a Council leader on managing the pace of commercial development, bringing parking relief to neighborhoods, ensuring resident protection in the comprehensive plan, and sound fiscal management to ensure efficient, effective city government that works for all residents.

Palo Alto land has become so valuable and sought-after that a very large array of commercial and regional interests has emerged, with many ideas on how to use that land.  But I work for you.

Of me and my colleague Tom DuBois, the Palo Alto Weekly wrote, “[Filseth and DuBois] have served the community well and have brought healthy, intelligent and substantive debate to council meetings." (October 21, 2016)  That's been my goal.

 

MY FIRST-TERM WORK ON THE COUNCIL

Leadership. During my first term on Council I chaired the Finance Committee twice, and this year I was selected by my colleagues to be Vice Mayor. I've taken key roles on a wide range of important issues, including:

  • Finance Committee ... four years, two as Chair
  • City/School Liaison Committee and Council-Appointed Officers Committee
  • Liaison to the Parks and Recreation Commission, and Palo Alto Neighbors Abroad
  • Liaison to the Utilities Advisory Commission, and delegate to the Northern California Power Agency

Getting things done.  I've played a key role in a number of critical issues, including direct leadership and/or collaboration for:

  • The Comprehensive Plan ... incorporating preservation of resident-favorable clauses, including
    • 4 acres of in-town park space for every 1,000 residents
    • Including ‘commercial encouraged but not at the expense of residential’ language
    • Requiring the impacts of growth on our schools to be considered in EIR studies.

  • City Finances
    • I led the city's 2017-18 fundamental accounting reform --- calculating pension expenses using realistic investment-return rates --- to managing our $509 million unfunded pension liability
      • Of our work on this, the state watchdog group Govern for California said,
        "Every government should take a page from Palo Alto's book."  (June 2018)
    • I was lead author of the city's proposed Transparency in Labor Negotiations policy.  Residents should be able to see the wage and pension costs of labor contracts before the Council simply adopts them.
    • Cut low-priority spending such as the proposed $2 million Council Chambers A/V project (eliminated in Finance Committee, May 2018)
    • Increasing commercial parking fees in order to fund the Transportation Management initiative
    • Creating balanced budgets in both years as Finance Chair, and preserving the City's AAA bond rating

  • Managing commercial growth and development
    • Slowing growth of new commercial office projects which increase pressure on housing, traffic and parking
    • Passing the 50Ksf annual cap on office growth, and adopting the Office Cap Reduction
    • Passing the retail preservation ordinance
    • Closing parking loopholes in commercial zoning

      Of your election in 2014 of me and my colleagues Tom DuBois and Karen Holman, the Palo Alto Weekly said,

      "Without [our actions], it is almost certain that the city would still be granting special zoning in exchange for so-called community 'benefits,' would have no cap on office development, may not have stuck with a nascent downtown residential-parking program, and would have approved a commercial office building at the corner of Page Mill Road and El Camino, among other places.”

            - Palo Alto Weekly, October 21, 2016

  • Housing ... prioritizing city focus on middle- and lower-income residents who couldn't otherwise stay here.  I supported:
    • The Buena Vista rescue
    • The ADU Ordinance - some of those units really will end up with caregivers and family members
    • The forthcoming PAH Affordable Housing project at El Camino Real and Wilton Court
    • Raising development impact fees to fund Affordable Housing
    • the Affordable Housing Overlay - though it has flaws which must be fixed, notably parking
    • Funding allocation for Supervisor Joe Simitian's proposed Teacher Housing project

  • Parking ... bringing parking relief to impacted neighborhoods.

  • Passing the Dewatering Ordinance

  • Adopting the Parks and Recreation Master Plan

  • Funding the Baylands Boardwalk and Evans Nature Center rebuilds