Animal House

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors recently passed its $4 billion annual budget, and in one of her last meaningful acts, Supervisor Liz Kniss, who will be termed out at the end of the year, recommended that the county give $47,000 to Palo Alto Animal Services. This wouldn’t be that big of a deal—the amount accounts for .001 percent of the budget—except for the fact that the animal shelter is in no way related to county business. Oh, and there’s one other important detail: Kniss is running for a seat on the Palo Alto City Council this fall. The animal shelter is actually under the authority of the city of Palo Alto, which lost more than a half-million in funding for animal services when the Mountain View shelter decided to find a new partner in Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority. Surprisingly, Supervisor Mike Wasserman seconded Kniss’ motion for one-time funds with breathtaking quickness, proving that Republicans hate spending money on a lot of things but not on puppies and kittens. Meanwile, Supervisors Ken Yeager and Dave Cortese objected to the funds, because the city of Palo Alto chose to cut Animal Services staff rather than allocate money to make up the shortfall. But board President George Shirikawa—who recently took some heat for having his own personal bodyguard at a taxpayer expense of roughly $90K—gave in as sort of a parting gift to Kniss, who refused to return Fly’s calls. “After three terms of a supervisor, I’m not going to be a ‘no’ vote on your last budget item,” Shirikawa said, passing the motion 3-2. Kniss thanked him by saying, “We’ll take what we can get, George. I’ll mention your name in Palo Alto.”

The Fly is the valley’s longest running political column, written by Metro Silicon Valley staff, to provide a behind-the-scenes look at local politics. Fly accepts anonymous tips.


  1. Political office comes with certain perks and responsibilities.  You need to “deliver the goods” to the district from time to time like getting a dock built in Alviso or a bridge or other stuff like that.  Ms. Kniss is simply trying to show her once and future constituents that she can do this.

    • She couldn’t get the pedestrian bridge at Adobe Creek & 101 built either.

      I like what’s happening along the Stevens Creek and 85 corridor, but some of these proposals are way over the top.  I believe there is already a pedestrian underpass for Adobe Creek.  So except for maybe a day or two a year, people can get to the other side of 101.

  2. > Oh, and there’s one other important detail: Kniss is running for a seat on the Palo Alto City Council this fall.

    Great news item, Fly!

    This is the type of stuff that makes me crazy.  But, that’s probably what you intended.

    You should probably offer an extra Twinkie or Ding Dong to whoever slipped this item under your door.

  3. Awesome! I’m glad to hear that the well being of shelter animals is on the front burner of someone in a position to assist them, even if it is only a one time donation from the County, it will help a lot.

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