Build Consensus to Build Momentum
The recent health and economic crises and protest movements remind us that how we work together defines us as a community.
Although many view me as more moderate than ideological, that may be based on my problem-solving approach of bringing people together to identify common goals, build consensus, and garner the political support we need to get things done.
Bringing People Together
As a neighborhood leader, I helped create the successful South Of Forest Ave (SOFA) Coordinated Area Plan that brought together residents and other stakeholders to redevelop the former Palo Alto Medical Foundation area. The resulting plan transformed a neighborhood, creating Heritage Park, new affordable family housing, a daycare center, and historic preservation. A project that could have been divisive was made better because residents were central to the planning process. A similar approach could happen for North Ventura (Frys) Coordinated Area Plan today.
I’ve enjoyed building support for projects like Ada’s Cafe, which employs adults with disabilities at our new library, and the Magical Bridge Playground that gives full access to everyone regardless of disability.
I’ve also built support for a series of affordable housing projects (Alma Place, Oak Court, The Opportunity Center, Alta Torre, The Treehouse, 801 Alma, Mayfield Place, Buena Vista, Wilton Court) that have been critical to retaining the diversity of residents that make up a healthy and diverse community. Projects like the rail crossing designs and the future of the Cubberley Community Center have the potential to be either collaborative solutions or divisive issues, depending on how the city engages the community. Building consensus impels progress toward shared goals. Bringing people together is worth the effort.
“Especially in these difficult times, it’s vital that the city and school district work together to support our youth. Pat is an effective and committed partner in these efforts.” - Todd Collins PAUSD Board Trustee
Leveraging Community Resources Makes More Things Possible.
Many of our greatest community assets have come through public/private partnerships that leverage resources, including generous volunteers, donors, and nonprofits partnering with the City on public/private partnerships like the Magical Bridge Playground, Mitchell Park Library and Community Center, Art Center, Children’s Museum and Zoo, Palo Alto History Museum, the Avenidas Senior Center, Emergency Service Volunteers, and the Cool Block program.
Today, we face the need to address railroad grade crossings. I led the city’s negotiations with the Valley Transportation Authority, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and other cities to secure $700 million to help fund grade separations from Palo Alto to Sunnyvale. I worked with others to create the Expanded Community Advisory Panel (XCAP), an advisory panel, engaged with the community, to guide the City’s in identifying solutions that minimize traffic delays and improve safety at Palo Alto rail crossings as train service increases.
I’m committed to pulling people together to solve problems because it results in creative consensus solutions, and builds the community buy-in needed to move big projects forward.