Former mayor Pat Burt will run for council this November

Pat Burt. Post file photo.

By the Daily Post staff

Pat Burt, who served on council from 2008 to 2016 and was mayor twice, announced today (June 11) that he will be running for a seat on council this November.

Four seats are up for grabs in November. So far, incumbent Lydia Kou has announced she is running for re-election, along with planning commissioners Ed Lauing and Cari Templeton. A fourth candidate is attorney Rebecca Eisenberg. Councilwoman Liz Kniss is termed out and can’t run again. Greg Tanaka and Adrian Fine have not said if they’re running for re-election.

Under a charter amendment approved by Palo Alto voters in 1992, council members are limited to two four-year terms for a total of eight years. But after sitting out for two years, they can run for council again.

It’s unusual but not unprecedented for council members to serve more than eight years.

The ones who have are:

Liz Kniss, 1989-2000 and 2013-20 (19 years)

Gary Fazzino, 1977-83 and 1989-2001 (18 years)

Larry Klein, 1981-89 and 2005-13 (17 years, 11 months)

Dick Rosenbaum, 1971-75 and 1991-99 (12 years)

In a statement, Burt said he has a track record of sound fiscal management during difficult times, such as the period after the 2008-09 recession.

During his two terms on council, Burt helped to enact employee pension reforms and initiated a trust to pay down unfunded pension liabilities.

During his tenure, the city also launched an Infrastructure Master Plan that created and funded a long-overdue strategy for more than $300 million in capital investments that doubled the rate of street and sidewalk maintenance. As a result, he said the city’s street quality rating is now the highest in the county.

Also while on council, the city modernized its 911 communications network while reducing costs by combining services with Los Altos and Mountain View. The city also replaced an obsolete and unsafe fire station; invested in improved parks and a citywide bike network; expanded flood control and obtained land for playing fields.

Burt said he is focused on guiding the city through the post-pandemic recession.

“We now face a fiscal crisis that threatens to decimate the services that make this the community we value,” Burt said in his campaign launch announcement. “We can mitigate the most severe cuts by deferring just a few of the capital projects that are important over the long run but are not essential over the next two years. And we can use this time to prepare ‘shovel-ready’ projects for the economic recovery period when construction costs are likely to be lower and federal stimulus dollars may become available.”

After leaving office two years ago, Burt remained active in civic issues, including facilitating neighborhood support for the Wilton Court affordable housing project. He has advocated for greater renter protections, while opposing state efforts to take over local zoning decisions, and led a citizens’ group supporting a fair business tax to fund traffic relief, affordable housing, train separations, and retaining city services during the current budget debate.

CORRECTION: The number of years Larry Klein served on council has been corrected in this version of the story.


  1. Glad to see Burt step into the race. He knows what he’s doing and he knows how to work with council members and Staff to get stuff done. We will need him to get out of this COVID mess.

  2. Agreed. Experience counts at a time like this. And I liked how he never engaged in drama or name-calling at council. Considerably better than our current mayor, Mr Fine.

  3. Happy to hear this! Pat Burt is the person we need right now – he knows how to get groups to work together, how to navigate city staff, and has the business acumen to help us recover post-COVID.

  4. I like his track record. Budget, infrastructure and parks, sustainability, bicycling and walking plans – his experience and past successes are relevant now more than ever.

  5. Glad to see he’s running. He knows “where the bodies are buried” at city hall and will be a stern task-master to the city manager. The current council and mayor spend too much time thanking staff and aren’t willing to hold their feet to the fire. Pat can do that while remaining polite and diplomatic.

  6. We now are facing crises with Covid 19, a flailing economy, racism, possible reallocating of police funding, determining how schools will reengage, and addressing the many mental health issues facing our youth. We therefore need a strong and EXPERIENCED leader who will look at the data, listen to his community and stand up for the rights of all. Based upon his outstanding leadership during his previous roles, I think we can trust that Pat will be that kind of leader!

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