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on Oct 2, 2012
This is Tim Gray and I need to offer a small correction to the above information.
"Civic Engagement" is so much more than City activities, so when it lists "None", I must ask your permission to offer a different perspective puts the word "Civic" into a much broader and inclusive definition:
I was spurred to community service in 2007 when former Mayor Vic Ojakian lamented the lack of community participation in City government. I was inspired, and having worked in Community Service nearly all of my career, most notably as a member of the Finance leadership that created the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. I was well-trained in the Stewardship of a Public Trust, and I had learned what can be accomplished with the spirit of cooperation and a clear shared vision.
I felt the City could use not only my financial skills as a Certified Public Accountant, but also the skills of finding common ground in a large organization with competing priorities. I learned by jumping in and attending meetings, speaking at council, and writing letters to the editor advocating Citizen Participation, greater inclusiveness of the residents in Government, financial discipline, and freedom from special interests.
The Stanford Hospital and the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital expansion was a major issue for the Council, and I advocated for the life-saving benefits that the project offered, with fairly quantified mitigations for the traffic and housing – which was resolved on a very positive basis for the City. Since my wife works at the Children’s Hospital, and Hospital expansion was a top issue even past the 2009 election, it was viewed that the fact that I could not be an suitable representative on this issue. Even though I only spend $800 on my campaign in 2009, I contributed by bringing Financial Discipline to the forefront of the conversation. I was the first to point out that the Labor Union funding of the local candidates represented a Conflict of Interest. It was at first very controversial, and then later understood to be an accepted truth.
The letters to the editor and times I have spoke to the Council are too many to mention, but I have been consistent vocal advocate for financial discipline, transparency in government, and community justice (City government is our first line of defense for constitutional issues.)
Finally, Civic Engagement is so much more that City activities. I was recruited by Dr. Walter Bortz (Palo Alto Physician and Healthy Aging Expert) to serve on the Board of Directors of the Age Center Alliance and served many years on the Board of Directors for East Palo Alto Teen Home (mission was to allow young girls to finish high school by providing them with a safe place to live.)
My advocacy for responsible government continues. The web site www.Vote4Gray.com restates the letters to the editor and Council presentations that most recently have been around Financial Discipline, moderation of Mega Projects and proper valuation of Community Benefits, and moving forward in matching the progress of our neighbor cities in the public access of our waterfront.
Any parent will tell you that just having children in school and the related activities is Civic Engagement. Especially when one parent is a girl scout leader and PTA president for a couple years.
Knowing that my heart has been fully engaged in very important parts of Palo Alto history, I felt that it was important to offer this revision.
Tim Gray (Candidate for Palo Alto City Council)
I agree with Tim that it is kinda freaky that you seem to define "prior civic engagement" as either being an incumbent, a previous office holder or being on IBRIC, so as to include the candidate you are obviously backing, without appearing to do so, assuming your readers are idiots. Like Tim Gray, I could list about a dozen examples of "civic engagement" here by most people's standards (although, for example, I was a member of the 21st Century Committee of the 1994 Palo Alto Centennial whereas Larry Klein, a current council member was Chair -- many of my involvements have been as rank-and-file not executive level, I admit)
Also you could say I am President of Earthwise Productions, a sole proprietorship -- why do you list the employers of Burt and Berman and not Gray or I?
Thank you Tim Gray for pointing this out.
Based on your experience with the Hospital expansion
Would you know what the tallest height of new construction for the hospital expansion is?
Mr. Berman is actually "of counsel" to a small 2-partner firm based in Los Angeles.
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