Councilwoman’s request for a $3,000 trip is rejected

Daily Post Staff Writer

Los Altos City Council has denied Councilwoman Lynette Lee Eng’s request to go on a $3,000 city-funded trip to a conference in Washington, D.C.

“I’m having a hard time justifying sending you,” Mayor Jonathan Weinberg said on Tuesday.
Lee Eng, making her first request under a new travel policy, said going to the conference would help her become a better councilwoman.

“When I come back with more knowledge, I think it benefits the city in so many ways,” Lee Eng said on Tuesday. “You learn what other cities are doing in other states. It is so valuable, and I can’t express that enough.”

Lee Eng said she’s learned about grants at past conferences, and she would be looking for ways to fund a new police station.

But her colleagues said they didn’t see the direct benefit to the city from sending Lee Eng, who is in her eighth and final year on council. They were also worried that events were more about advocating for the city than education.

Councilwoman Sally Meadows said she was worried that Lee Eng would advocate for positions that didn’t align with the majority of council’s position.

Meadows brought up a fight from last January, when Lee Eng kept her seat on the VTA board despite council nominating Weinberg.

Lee Eng said at the time that she was following new VTA bylaws allowing board members to stay on for another year, and other representatives wanted her to stay to “maintain continuity.”

But Meadows said that Lee Eng was no longer qualified to represent the city and rescinded Lee Eng’s appointment to a regional board that funds libraries.

“I’m not trying to be argumentative,” Meadows said on Tuesday, “but there have been examples where council gave very specific direction, and it hasn’t been followed.”

Lee Eng was asking to go to the Congressional City Conference from March 11 to March 13 at an estimated cost around $3,000.


  1. It is the mayor’s responsibility to decide which expenditures for the city are worthwhile and which are not. If the trip in question is not seen as adding value to Los Altos then it should be cancelled. That said, is learnng from the successes and failures of other city governments within the United States not a valuble undertaking? What are the more economical activiites that Mayor Weinberg proposes to learn of the the successful governance in other cities ?……or is the Los Altos City Council the national center of effective leadership ?

  2. Do other Los Altos council members simply not attend regional conferences?
    Do Weinberg and Meadows not understand part of their job is to bring home the bacon?
    They’re likely losing 3% PER RESIDENT over neighboring cities by not playing nicely with regional government.

  3. Counties allocate money for many programs on a per resident basis.
    Let’s use the American Recovery Act (ARA) as an example.
    There are cities in California that got a thousand dollars more per resident than Los Altos.

  4. First, you’ve got the name of the law wrong. H.R. 1319 is actually the American Rescue Act.

    Second, the funds are allocated by county, not city, so it’s impossible that Los Altos got 3% less than other cities in the county.

    But if you’re going to stick by your claim that some cities got more than others, show me the numbers.

    You can’t because you’re making this up.

  5. Your argument is based on the false premise that because the County allocates funds that it must do so equitably. It does not.

  6. So if there’s a $3 difference per capita between cities, how much did Los Altos get compared to Palo Alto and San Jose. And please cite your source. Just saying “the city budget” isn’t good enough. Since you’re the expert, cite chapter and verse.

  7. Last time, your story grows tiresome. Three percent not three dollars and Los Altos ARA alone was over $7M. National league of cities lists all the data which site policy prohibits posting, but it starts with NLC and it’s three letters long. For your comparison google “Santa Clara County cities by population” divide the first by the last.
    School’s out.

    • If you were telling the truth you could provide a figure for at least one local city. No specifics so I’m going to conclude you’re making this up. Try being honest next time.

  8. It’s outrageous that Lee Eng wants to jet around at taxpayer expense. Her previous trips have produced nothing of value for residents. She talks about getting grants for the city, but hasn’t landed even one grant. If she worked for a major employer, they would expect for her to produce something of value on their trips. The Daily Post called this a “junket” and that’s exactly the right word. Time for Lee Eng to step down.

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