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Re-Organizing How the City of Palo Alto Works

Original post made by Paul Losch, a resident of Palo Alto, on Oct 29, 2011

I am for Measure D, I oppose Measure E. Just so readers know, and do not have to ask. And not the point of my observations here.

However you come down on these two Measures, it is good to have us voters deciding if the laws and labor practices that have been on the books for years are in need of change.

Those of us who have worked in the private sector have experienced “re-organizations.” Private companies by their nature must adapt on a regular basis, or they do not thrive. Our public sector organizations, from federal to local, are there to offer stable platforms for our general community and our private sector to ideally thrive in. Too often, the public sector entities have difficulty adapting, for reasons too numerous for me to mention in this brief post, and that can impede the public sector’s basic role in supporting the community and the private sector.

Change is difficult. Human nature in general does not embrace, rather, it resists it. There is so much cacophony about public sector change and resistance to same. Arguments and assertions to which I have been exposed suggest huge disingenuity in polemics from parties taking opposite views on various issues. Hard for me to believe any of them.

I find this to be the case with Measures D and E. Eloquent and not so eloquent (usually emotional) assertions by advocates and opponents of each side.

What is good is that we Palo Alto citizens are being asked “is it time to change some arrangements that made sense when they first put into place some years ago, or should we stick with what we have in place?”
Each of us has to answer for ourselves such a question around Measures D and E. I think the question needs to be asked a great deal more around many issues. City staff and City Council can and do address this question as part of their regular duties. The question can be asked about many things here in town that require a vote of the citizenry, and we do not do it enough.

Comments (2)

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Posted by Chuck
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Oct 29, 2011 at 2:29 pm

"The question can be asked about many things here in town that require a vote of the citizenry"


I understand your general point, I think. However, can you be a bit more specific? Please give us some examples of major issues that need to be directly voted on (besides D and E). Another way of saying this is: Our City Council is supposed to vote on our behalf, because we are not a direct democracy, but a representative democracy. If we don't like how our City Council votes, then we vote them out on election day.

Bottom line, Paul: Aren't you really saying that our City Council can't stand the heat in the kitchen? Or are you saying that we, as a citizenry, have locked ourselves into policies, through the general vote, that now require a reversal vote?

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Posted by Paul Losch
a resident of Palo Alto
on Oct 30, 2011 at 1:19 am

Paul Losch is a registered user.

Hi Chuck,

Thanks for some good questions.

I tend to favor government at the local level, it gets uglier up the proverbial "food chain" and definitely more confusing. Although there are circumstances and instutions that work better at a state or national level.

I do not favor the proposition model we have in the State of California. It may have had its place 100+ years ago, but has been out of control since Prop 13 in 1978. Voters are not necessarily better informed and able to make wise decisons compared to those they elect to work on these matters.

The irony in my comment is that I cannot include those along the Potomac, that is toxic water they drink there.

That said, here in Palo Alto, there are things that the voters/citizenry must vote on. I prefer it be done by our City Council when possible, and there are things that Council has to refer to the voter/citizens in town.

Some of those things should not have been established in such a way that requires a vote from the voters/citizens. But, I am glad that we are able to locally make choices that address choices made years ago under different circumstances.

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