Managing Finances

Focus on Economic Recovery

Like many of you, we were drawn to Palo Alto because of its exceptional qualities - its vitality and diversity, friendly neighborhoods, schools, public safety, parks and open space, libraries, and breadth of community services.

The COVID emergency has brought us deep financial challenges that jeopardize our most valued services, but we have overcome severe downturns before. I am confident we can do it again while saving what makes Palo Alto the community we treasure. 

While on the City Council from 2008-2016, I helped lead the city through the challenges of the Great Recession, serving as Mayor in 2010 and chairing the Finance Committee through the city’s successful recovery. I have a proven track record of problem-solving, sound financial management, and results during difficult times. We streamlined government to maintain our services.

When the council was cutting about $40 million from the budget earlier this year, it was Burt who suggested the council postpone some of the city’s capital projects…and apply the money to ongoing daily operations. Palo Alto Daily Post (September 21, 2020)

I worked with city staff, businesses, community partners, and other government agencies to leverage resources. We took on the difficult task of making Palo Alto the first city in the county to reform employee pensions and I will continue to drive managing this liability.

“His experience with the budget will be useful to council in 2021... if elected, Burt will be the only council member who was around when the city had to cut the budget in the wake of the 2008-2009 recession.”Palo Alto Daily Post (September 21, 2020)

We initiated an ambitious and overdue Infrastructure Master Plan and built up over $300 million for:

  Doubling of funding for streets and sidewalks, improving our ratings from “fair” to best in the county

  Modernizing our 911 system while reducing costs by consolidating with neighboring communities

  Replacing obsolete and unsafe fire stations

  Rejuvenating California Avenue as a pedestrian-oriented district

  Investing in improved parks, community facilities, and a citywide bike network

  Expanding flood control and new land for playing fields


Because of our recent strong infrastructure investments, we can preserve our treasured services by deferring certain non-critical capital projects instead of the recently adopted slashing of libraries, community services, parks, fire protection, and emergency planning that the city recently adopted.

The financial impacts of this downturn are far-reaching and no one knows how deep or how long they will last. Throughout the crisis, we must support our community values and ensure that any changes to services and policies will not have irreversible impacts. 

My decades of executive, neighborhood, and governmental leadership enable me to represent our community effectively at this critical time.

“Pat understands how to make government work for us. Given the current fiscal issues facing the city, it’s vitally important to have Pat’s land use and financial expertise on the Council.” Larry Klein, Former Mayor of Palo Alto

I would be honored to represent you, as I have in the past, providing leadership to ensure our city has a strong and sustainable financial future.