PALO ALTO — With the trend in his favor, there was almost no doubt the new city council would choose six-year councilman Tom DuBois to be mayor after his stint as vice mayor last year and his long years of experience on the council.
But after weeks of speculation that Alison Cormack would be DuBois’ right-hand woman — a prediction driven in part by the failed vote last year to elect her vice mayor — it appears she has been snubbed again.
The newly elected council members on Monday night held two votes to choose a vice mayor and finally landed on former mayor Pat Burt, a move that solidifies the residentialists’ control of the council after slow-growth candidates won big in the November election.
Four council seats were up for an election this November and former mayor Pat Burt, incumbents Lydia Kou and Greg Tanaka and city commissioner Greer Stone won out among a slate of 10 candidates, some newcomers to the political scene and others familiar to Palo Alto voters.
Patrick Burt, former mayor of Palo Alto, speaks regarding the recall election drive for Santa Clara County Superior Court judge Aaron Persky with the editorial board of the Mercury News at the Mercury News offices in downtown San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, April 19, 2018. He supports the recall. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)
On Monday night, three council members were up for the vice mayorship: DuBois nominated Burt, Tanaka nominated Kou and councilman Eric Filseth chose Cormack, in large part because she “gracefully broke the stalemate” and allowed DuBois to become vice mayor last year after Tanaka’s abstention from voting to appoint Cormack for that role forced a 3-3 deadlock which Cormack broke.
In the first round of voting on Monday, Tanaka and Kou voted for Kou’s ascension to the vice mayorship. DuBois, councilman Greer Stone and Burt voted for Burt. Filseth and Cormack voted for Cormack.
After no one got a majority on the first round, Filseth changed his vote to Burt. With himself, Stone, Filseth and DuBois casting votes for Burt, Burt received the majority necessary to become vice mayor.
Burt served as mayor in 2010 and in 2016, but he’s never served in the number two position while on the council between 2008 and 2016.
On Monday night, DuBois, who received unanimous support from his colleagues, outlined the city’s top priorities for the year. He said the council will have to deal with the city’s economic recovery post-pandemic, discussions on a new business tax, a “land-use realignment” and changes in current zoning, as well as more incentives for affordable housing.
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“Looking at the council, this is probably the biggest pro-resident majority in the history of Palo Alto,” DuBois said. “We’re not dominated by an influence of big business or development interests. Given the amount of money it took to win the last election, it’s really an accomplishment.”
Burt said Tuesday morning he will leverage his experience during the 2008 Financial Crisis to guide the city through its post-pandemic recovery.
“My past experiences will help and inform, but this recovery wont be a mirror image of the past,” he said.
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