Who is supporting whom on council

This story originally published in the Oct. 20 print edition of the Daily Post.

By Braden Cartwright
Daily Post Staff Writer

The balance on Palo Alto City Council could shift depending on who gets elected on Nov. 8 – and endorsements of candidates by sitting council members show where allegiances fall.

Planning and Transportation Commissioner Ed Lauing and attorney Vicki Veenker have the most endorsements of any of the candidates running for council with five a piece.

Lauing is backed by the slow-growth majority: Outgoing council members Tom DuBois and Eric Filseth, along with Councilman Greer Stone, Vice Mayor Lydia Kou and Mayor Pat Burt.

Author Julie Lythcott-Haims, who is outspoken in favor of building more housing, is endorsed by Councilman Greg Tanaka and Councilwoman Alison Cormack. Cormack isn’t running for re-election, leaving three open seats.

The endorsements of Lauing and Lythcott-Haims reflects a 5-2 split among the current council on issues relating to development: Tanaka and Cormack are on the pro-business, pro-development side, while the majority is more reluctant to build. Pro-development candidates would have to sweep the race to shift the balance on council.

Veenker, who is pro-housing but campaigns as a “bridge builder,” is backed by DuBois, Filseth, Burt, Stone and Cormack.

Planning and Transportation Commissioner Doria Summa is endorsed by four council members: DuBois, Filseth, Kou and Stone.

Utilities Advisory Commissioner Lisa Forssell is backed by Cormack and Burt. They’re both on a council committee dedicated to climate action, so they have some overlap with Forsell’s role as a commissioner. (Editor’s note: After this article was printed, Burt withdrew his support of Forsell and got behind Summa.)

Realtor Alex Comsa is endorsed by Tanaka. Nobody on council is backing software engineer Brian Hamachek.

Who will be mayor next year?

A mayor hasn’t served a back-to-back term since 1981, so Burt would likely step aside when a new council votes on a new mayor in January. Preference is also given to council members with experience.

Kou is in line for the job after her colleagues voted unanimously to make her vice mayor this year.

Tanaka will be in his seventh year on council, but he often stands alone on 6-1 votes and doesn’t enjoy support from the other council members.

That leaves Stone as the other council member with a shot at being mayor.