The city council race is heating up as the two declared candidates seeking a new term, Liz Kniss and Marc Berman, begin their campaigns. Berman, an attorney with an L.A.-based firm, has announced his fundraising total of more than $22,000 to fuel a campaign meant to address some of Palo Alto’s foremost issues.
The list of donors includes venture capitalists, school board members, and employees of local businesses. He received the maximum $350 donation from Rich Gordon’s 2012 state Assembly campaign, $100 from former mayor Gary Fazzino, and $100 from former school board member Carolyn Tucher. This large sum of cash has already been put to work, with part of it being spent on a new campaign website.
Berman, who grew up right here in Palo Alto, said in a letter Monday that he offers “a unique perspective as both a longtime resident and a young professional looking to raise a family.” He remembers his childhood in the city, including the schools, Duveneck and Jordan, and Rinconada Park. Berman remarks that he wishes for his kids to “have to the same experience”, and that that will be “the focus of his campaign.”
Berman served on the Infrastructure Blue Ribbon Commission (IBRC) previously, a panel designed to fix the city’s most immediate items on its agenda, giving him “an in-depth knowledge of Palo Alto’s current infrastructure.” He states that, if elected, he will do what the city needs to, which is to “catch up on old projects and move forward on new projects.”
The city currently faces a number of internal issues, including challenges with the budget. Berman notes that Palo Alto needs to be more efficient in how it spends its money. He cites, for example, the city’s practice of renting areas downtown for its own employees.
“The city should staff vital employees itself instead of renting high-valued, commercial area downtown,” said Berman. In addition to trimming budget issues such as this, he said the city needs to increase its cash flow. “It’s about finding ways to increase revenue through business development,” he said.
Berman admits that he is a relatively new candidate to the voters, and that he has “a lot of research to do.” But he says that he offers a fresh perspective and is ready to do the work necessary.
“I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and do the work," he said.