Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Role of City Government

At the May 20 East Palo Alto City Council meeting, council members voted three to two to allocate money to several local groups which sponsor cultural programs in the city. Throughout the meeting, Council member Peter Evans argued that the city was functioning improperly as a welfare agency and was misusing taxpayers’ money by supporting community programs sponsored by the city's nonprofit agencies. He stated that the city should concentrate solely on providing municipal services, like fixing the streets. The council ignored his arguments and decided, instead, to establish guidelines it could use to determine future funding for local agencies that request city assistance.

So, what do you think? Do you agree with Evans that the city should focus on providing municipal services only? Or do you believe it is a function of local government to allocate money to social service agencies that need assistance in providing needed community services? You can log in and post your opinion below or you can email your opinion to Either way, we might print your views in EPA Today’s Letter to the Editor column.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Should the city appeal?

After hearing numerous stories by East Palo Alto tenants that newly requested rent increases would bring personal hardship, the East Palo Alto City Council voted to impose a six month moratorium on the rent increases brought by Page Mill Properties, the city’s largest rental landlord. The requested rent increases would have raised the monthly rent from $100 to $300 on approximately 1,300 apartment units.

Many of the tenants who received the rent increases are low-income, disabled and like many seniors, on fixed incomes. In ruling against the city, Judge Beth Larson Freeman said that the city’s moratorium violated several state laws. Representatives for the city said that the moratorium allowed for a cooling off period in which critical issues affecting both the tenants and the landlord could be settled. The city now has the option of appealing the judge’s decision. Given the stakes involved for the tenants and for the landlord, do you think the City of East Palo Alto should appeal the judge’s decision and try to keep the six month moratorium?