Editorial: Espinosa, Burt, Yeh, Dykwel for City Council
Original post made
on Oct 10, 2007
Eleven candidates are in the race for four openings on Palo Alto's nine-member City Council in the Nov. 6 election with no incumbents running. Bern Beecham, Dena Mossar and Judy Kleinberg are term-limited off this year and LaDoris Cordell has chosen not to seek reelection.
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posted Wednesday, October 10, 2007, 12:00 AM
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Posted by Mike
a resident of College Terrace
on Oct 11, 2007 at 12:25 pm
Alyssa, I understand your frustration; we all (including me want to "have things our way".
That said, one has to consider the realities of democratic representation that is carried on through certain collaborative bodies, like City Councils, Boards of Supervisors, BOE's, Assemblies, the Congress, etc.
Let's keep this local, and look at Palo Alto. How would any one maverick ever accomplish anything? A recent example is Hillary Freeman. Ms. Freeman was a stickler for enormous detail, and a more-often-than-not voter against the majority (often making lone "no" votes, just to make a statement). What did she accomplish?
The answer to the last question is that she accomplished a determination among other sitting members on the City Council not to let the likes of Ms. Freeman's style be permitted to grace Council chambers again.
Our City Council, structurally, is a *collaborative* body. You need five votes to take action on most things. How does someone who is standing outside the box, get in? And, if they do, what will they accomplish if they are lobbying against the grain of the majority.
Frankly, (as stated earlier), I prefer an elected Mayor/elected Council model, one that would gove the Mayor just enough separation of power to be able to tip the balance of power in the direction of the mandate that s/he was voted in on. But, we don't have that; thus, we see very middle-of-the-road (some would say "mundane") platforms that are skewed to the middle.
So, what are we left with? Good people, who have shown their mettle in a number of ways - usually through some kind of community involvement/public service. These residents (candidates, in this case) have studied the issues, and have a realistic, pragmatic, view of what they need to do to get elected to office, so that they can, in a *collaborative* way, use their powers of persuasion and logic to bring the majority of their peers to their side, in support of issues that they care about.
A "different" *group* of candidates might have a chance in a Palo Alto-like municipal election, but it would have to be a coordinated group. That group would have to speak to their concerns in a way that doesn't turn off traditional voters.
In all, we're challenged, and we're not going to have an easy time of it, going forward. It does remain to be seen whether Palo Alto (in fact, most California municipalities) continue on the paths that they learned in California's more halcion days, or that they embrace *truly* innovative ways of thinking, and acting. This IS possible, but it will take far more political will than we have seen to date.
In all, I'm encouraged, and expect a better performance from the next Council than we have hed from our most recent group (with praise for the latter's ability to hold the center, while prodding forward on a faster trajectory than past Councils have).
Here's hoping we can continue to adapt, and create sustainability.