Your vote is your voice!
We have city council vote trackers and a wealth of election 2018 resources to help you use it well.
As we enter the final days of campaign season, our mailboxes and local media are full of political ads with perfect pictures, simple messages, and high-profile or personal endorsements – whatever might catch our attention in a few short minutes and get our vote without making us think too hard. Makes sense. We’re all busy, the issues are complicated, and it’s hard to focus beyond the craziness of national politics.
But as you can imagine, we at Palo Alto Matters hope you won’t rely on a few short minutes standing over the recycling bin to decide how to vote. Scroll down for all the voter resources you need. And we hope you’ll keep the big picture in mind – all policy is interdependent at the local level. Together, we live, play, and shop here; work, raise families, and retire here; walk, bike, and drive here. Home is no place for single-issue or identity politics.
We know local matters matter to you.
From bite-sized to gulp-sized, you can find the info you need to make informed votes here.
Over the past two years Palo Alto Matters invested countless hours putting local headlines in context to help you understand and influence the decisions being made on your behalf here at home. Our diverse, growing, subscriber list from every neighborhood in town and your many gracious letters tell us that Palo Altans, community wide, care about what happens here. You’ve risen to the challenge, doing your homework, turning out at meetings, and reaching out to local officials in record numbers on a wide range of issues.
Now we’re here to help you recall what happened and connect you to a wealth of voter info created by local news media and nonprofits. Palo Alto Matters’ one-of-a-kind vote tracker compiles the voting record for our three incumbent City Council candidates on key issues we’ve covered over the past two years. In addition, we’re including links to other election resources available to the community – covering the City Council, School Board, and Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (Ward 5) races as well as local and state ballot measures.
We hope you’ll review and share these voter resources, encourage your friends, neighbors and colleagues to subscribe (free!) to Palo Alto Matters, and make the best ballot choices for the future of our community!
Palo Alto Matters’ City Council Vote Trackers
Palo Alto Matters pays attention to local policy debates and chatter and, as you know, we think the facts and details matter. We urge you to resist basing your vote on campaign rhetoric and instead look critically at the actual record. We’ve pulled it together for you below in what we hope is an easily digestible form. Yes, we know it’s not exciting to read a list of policy actions, (and, sorry, we don’t have the bandwidth to make it pretty or interactive for you) but voting records offer a much better indicator of where a candidate really stands than campaign messaging does.
To help you differentiate between the three incumbent Palo Alto City Council Members seeking re-election in 2018, Tom DuBois, Eric Filseth, and Cory Wolbach, we’ve compiled a table showing where they’ve disagreed in controversial council decisions over the past two years. We think we’ve captured the bulk of them, but if we’ve missed something important (or gotten something wrong!), please let us know. We’re happy to update the on-line version of our vote trackers.
A useful companion to our vote tracker, and in addition to their election guide below, the Palo Alto Weekly has compiled it’s editorials on city issues from the past two years that flesh out some of the controversies that have swept the community. The Weekly’s editorials on school issues is also well worth review to put the candidate debates in context.
For the Housing Vote Tracker we included all adopted housing-related policies. Contrary to popular rhetoric, there was “across the aisle” agreement among the incumbent city council members seeking re-election in 2018 on nearly every housing action over the past two years. Where housing motions passed or failed it was typically by at least a two-thirds margin. Thus we thought the full list of adopted policies offered the benefit of showing where incumbent candidates diverged while also presenting the big picture of what’s happened on housing.
Unfortunately, without a voting record, it’s harder to assess how newcomers Alison Cormack and Pat Boone would perform if elected. But our local news media and nonprofits have done their best to nail them down on specifics. Take advantage of their good work by reviewing the resources below.
Additional Resources for Election Information
The Palo Alto Weekly, Palo Alto Daily Post, League of Women Voters of Palo Alto, Palo Alto Neighborhoods, and Midpen Media Center have done yeoman’s work to help you make informed votes. From candidate interviews, questionnaires, and debates, to side-by-side position summaries, to pros-cons forums, to reasoned endorsements – you can find them below.
To get up to speed on the state-wide ballot, we highly recommend CALMatters.org. CALmatters (a nonpartisan, nonprofit journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters) has everything from 1-minute videos along with in-depth looks at statewide ballot measures, to candidate profiles, to issue briefs and news stories related to California’s politics and November ballot. Their coverage throughout the year is astute and informative, we recommend you subscribe (free) and support their work.