Q&A with Palo Alto Mayor Greg Scharff



compiled by Sohini Ashoke

The Oracle (TO): What have you accomplished so far on the city council? In addition, what are your plans for the next two-year term?

Greg Scharff (GS): I think we have made huge strides on infrastructure and we’re actually going to build a public safety building, and people have been talking about doing that since the late 1980s. I think widening the California Avenue street in that unification process was really a positive thing. I’m really happy that the golf course could reopen and that we’re going to have an extra ten acres that we can use for athletic fields and things like that. I’m glad we’ve got our infrastructure under control and we’re going to build some new fire stations and parking garages. So, I am pretty pleased with where things are going.

TO: What programs are you working on implementing in Palo Alto right now?

GS: I want to complete our infrastructure programs like I was talking about earlier, like our parking garages and safety building built, because they aren’t actually built. I think it’s important that we get more housing in Palo Alto, more affordable housing in Palo Alto. I think we need to continue to work on trying to make the traffic situation in Palo Alto better.

TO: How do high schoolers and their opinions affect your work?

GS: Once in a while, teens have advocated for bicycle paths in certain areas in terms of getting to high school and that sort of thing. In the past, teens have talked about wanting more entertainment type options in Palo Alto. Teens have asked to keep the Mitchell Park Library open later, which I believe we’re doing, but we could probably keep it open even later because people wanted that. Those are the kinds of things I remember teens asking for.

TO: How do high schoolers get their voice heard by City Council?

GS: I think [teens getting involved in the Palo Alto City Council is] very important, and I think if you get used to getting involved, you can enjoy seeing change in your community, and you can change things the way you think it should be changed. But also it’s an education process at the same time and you start to understand why things are the way they are, and that changes a person’s opinion. So you change also and you change the system at the same time, so it’s positive for everyone.