An Open Letter To My Supporters and Potential Supporters
Election Day is around the corner.
Rather than give you paragraphs of "feel good" prose, let me directly address the four dimensions that many voters use in assessing candidates: credibility, competence, commitment and authenticity.
Credibility and Competence:
I am proud of my two prominent endorsements: One from the Palo Alto Weekly because it speaks to my experience with the breadth of issues facing the city and one from the Sierra Club because of the values it represents. I am even more proud of my important endorsements from the residents because that demonstrates their confidence that I will continue to represent them and prioritize their needs and interests.
If you want details of specific experience and positions, please go to my website. Here I am going to highlight the bigger pictures. Best example: On Emergency Preparedness, I quickly went from the new recruit to help represent my neighbor in meetings to creating and implementing a program for my neighborhood that became the model for the whole city and becoming a leader of the city-wide effort. This also turned a program that was created to fill a substantial gap in City Hall's program into a prominent part of that program.
I do my homework. I develop workable plans. I inspire people to believe in those plans and put their time and effort behind achieving those goals.
If you look at my work on development issues, you will see that I understand not just the complexities and tradeoffs of individual issues, but that I know to look for them. You will see me push back against dogma, lazy slogans and the false belief that the situation in Palo Alto conforms to national averages.
Commitment and Authenticity
A constant of political campaigns everywhere is that there are some candidates that change their positions for the purposes of getting elected and once in office pivot back to their previous positions. We saw this with pro-development candidates in the 2014 Council campaign and are seeing it now. With me, you can see a dedication to the interests of residents and to informing residents of issues affecting them that goes back long before I even conceived of running for office. When you look at the authenticity of a candidate's position, consider their explanations—that tells you a lot about how strongly it is held. For example, trust someone who shows they have had actual experience with the problem over someone who is mouthing theory and dogma. Or someone who is enamored of the current fad.
From the very beginning of this campaign, the pro-development side has tried to distract from the issues and the choices facing Palo Alto with a series of accusations and falsehoods. Prominent among these is the September 8 posting by Mike Greenfield "A Wall Around My Country and a Moat Around My Hometown" (https://goo.gl/93O4Y8). Calling Mayor Burt and me “Trump” and that I want to keep out "newcomers". Think about the absurdity of that. As a residential Realtor, I find homes for people who want to move here. My concerns about quality-of-life issues stems not only from my personal experience and what I hear from residents, but what I hear from these prospective residents.
When the pro-development candidates established a large funding advantage over the Residentialist candidates, some residents whose quality of life had been substantially impacted by over-development stepped up with large contributions to level the playing field (and overshot). These residents were falsely accused of trying to "buy the election" and falsely characterized as a special interest.
Another distraction was the advocacy group Palo Alto Forward being outraged that they had been preempted from having a PAC under their name even as they proclaimed that their intention was never to have a PAC. This preemption was done as an individual by Tim Gray who subsequently became my campaign's treasurer. I asked for and received his resignation because he should have recognized that it would create negative perceptions, even though he had no intention of ever using that PAC.
My candidacy has and always will be about giving residents a voice in City decision-making. Residents should not have to turn out in force at so many City Council meetings to have our voices heard and our concerns and priorities be taken into account. We must not forget how we have come to this point, a modest improvement from 2015: The current council has made real progress in rebuilding confidence in our city government but it is fragile, therefore this election is so important to set it on the right direction.
We need a Council with the maturity and wisdom to guide the evolution of our Community in a thoughtful and deliberate way, which embraces innovation but does not rely on unproven assumptions about future lifestyles and transportation until we see these things actually work in Palo Alto – because we are all in this for the long term. The next Council will make decisions that shape the character of our City for many years to come.
To have an effective upcoming Council, I would also like to recommend, beside myself, fellow candidates Arthur Keller, Greer Stone and Stewart Carl. Each has special qualities that will bring knowledge to Council and more importantly, we all deeply care about the quality of life for the residents who live here.
Thank you for your unwavering support of my campaign. I respectfully ask for your vote. Please share this letter with your family, friends and acquaintances who are voters in Palo Alto through Voters Circle.