New Mayor of Palo Alto elected

On Jan. 6, Nancy Shepherd was named the new mayor of Palo Alto, with Liz Kniss joining her as vice mayor for 2014.

Shepherd was first elected as a council member in 2010 and served as vice mayor for a year under Mayor Greg Scharff before becoming mayor herself.

Because there are also many unfinished projects from 2013 that must be carried over to 2014, Palo Alto Online states that similar to last year, City Council will continue battling with issues such as excessive traffic, a lack of parking and the appearance of new developments.

Under Shepherd’s supervision, City Council will continue trying to fix the unresolved problems.

According to a blog on Palo Alto Online, Scharff says that he regrets not starting the construction of the new parking structure because now the parking affects the neighborhoods around downtown Palo Alto. Shepherd plans on starting and continuing this project during her term as mayor.

As the 12th woman to serve as the city’s mayor, Shepherd’s appointment pleased many who wanted more diversity within the local council.

“She has a well-deserved reputation for her real commitment to a truly open government and to full public participation,” council member Pat Burt said in an interview with the San Jose Mercury News. “She has a strong sense of fairness to all and is widely appreciated for her courtesy and integrity.”

Like Burt, Kniss is also thrilled about Shepherd becoming mayor.

“I think that the mayor for this coming year is going to need that toughness, that resilience,” Kniss said. “And I think we have just this kind of character in Nancy Shepherd.”

According to Palo Alto Online, Shepherd and Kniss both plan to resolve the $10 million budget gap as well as dealing with the high-speed rail line that is set to go through Palo Alto.
Though these topics may be tough to deal with, Shepard is convinced that as her term progresses, she will successfully address all the issues at hand.

“I know that we have the spirit to address these issues broadly, deeply and with real focus in order to incrementally move them forward,” Shepherd said.