Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Herb Borock - Palo Alto's own Rob Anderson

From the Mercury News on Palo Alto.

Herb Borock, a watchdog who is a fixture at city meetings, wrote to city officials on Friday after reading in a local newspaper that work on the plaza was scheduled to begin just a week after the city council first approved it. He pointed out that city code requires a second approval and a 30-day waiting period before substantial construction on any local park. The waiting period is intended to allow time for residents to mount a referendum campaign.

Very Anderson-esque. I don't know the specifics of the project though I am familiar with Lytton Plaza as I hang out there eating pizza and waiting for the Caltrain with some frequency, and once lived about 4 blocks away. It's very useful for cities to have open spaces in downtown areas and PA is no exception. Sure, random teenagers and even some panhandlers will utilize the space, but so do "regular non-threatening white folk".

The ordinance in question is 40 years old or so, and was probably put in for a reason. The city apparently dropped the ball, much like San Francisco did on the Bike Plan EIR. But if Borock was so concerned with process, why didn't he point it out to PA at a point other than the last hour? It's because he, like Anderson, is a gadfly obstructionist. He has poured over city code line by line, and knew quite well that PA was being sloppy the whole time. He didn't show up at the reading on Aug 3 and point out the flaw, he corresponded with the city the last day before construction, just like Anderson filed his appeal of the EIR on the last day possible.

What drives these gadflys? The attention? If they were so concerned about process, they would point things out as they happen. To spring up and show such concern at the 11th hour, consistently, is solely for the lulz and to obstruct using the political processes we've put in place to the detriment of the public.

Makes me wish we could do things the Chicago way


Yokota Fritz said...

When Wal Mart designed a new Stupendous Center at the north end of Lonmont(US 66 and US 287), I conveniently found some code violations in their plans and informed the planning commission at the last minute.

It only delayed things a couple of months, but still, obstructionist tactics can be useful at times.

murphstahoe said...

Did you stop it?

I guess if you knew a recession was coming, delaying the project could result in cancellation as the economic viability would go away.

But if Longmont thinks they need a new Wal-Mart 3 miles from the other Wal-Mart, they get what they deserve.

Darren said...

You're totally right, man. That's exactly what Herb Borock is. I don't think he has any other purpose in life except to be a thorn in the public's side.