http://paloaltoonline.com/blogs/p/print/2009/09/24/how-to-differentiate-and-select-cpa-council-candidates


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By Paul Losch

How to Differentiate and Select CPA Council Candidates

Uploaded: Sep 24, 2009

On occasion, I am described as being as an "insider," which makes me laugh. I am willing to offer up a point of view on this blog and as a member of the Parks and Recreation Commission. I hardly feel like an insider, as that term is thrown around.

I will endorse people I know who are running for elective office and in my view are good choices locally, but I don't look to get sought out by candidates, nor do I want to be. I do support those who have asked me for an endorsement if I think it is the right thing for me to do.

But I am thinking about where I was as a dad, a guy with an SF job, a person who had no clue who were our elected officials and appointed Commissoiners less than 10 years ago. I had no clue who was in charge of our City or School District.

I chose to get involved. I worked on the language (Spanish) immersion effort in the mid-1990's, and then for reasons that are not worth explaining, I now am the longest serving member of the City of Palo Alto Parks and Recreation Commission.

And I get to blog about stuff in town.

I think most Palo Altans are like the way I describe myself before I chose to get involved. For parents of young and elementary schools aged children, the involvement is much more intense, but its half life goes quickly for many after that. Involvemt may continue with private organations, but schol involvemetn drops in a huge way when the kids get to middle schools. Having an understanding of how things work in the City of Palo Alto, as opposed to the PAUSD, is even less understood, from what I perceive.

And the role as a citizen/parent also changes, compared with being a parent/citizen.

The choices for those who sit on the dais at City Hall has limited correlation of understanding for many who are active in the schools and other activities that are independent of what the City of Palo Alto provides. Many things the City does are for members of our community that an individual voter knows nothing about and does not experience. That said, those things are important to the fabric of this community.

It is not clear to me that how people choose their City Council members is based on as informed an understanding of who they are choosing than is the case for the school board or various private and school site organziations.

So when it comes to selecting our next City Council members, just what is it that we are in need of and looking for? How does that decision get informed to the public at large?

The PAN folks, who represent the various Palo Alto neighborhood assocations, have another candidates forum this year, and that is great. What about the rest of folks who cannot make that?

Are the City Council candidates creating distinct positions and points of view? What are the key ones that you are in support of or will lead you to not voting for a candidate?

Please focus on the issues, not the candidates, whether you support a particular position or oppose it

I have my points of view, but that is not the point. It is for those who weigh in on PA Online to provide some thinking.

And it up to the candidates to decide if what those who weigh in on this blog are offering thought and perspective, or just want to provide invective and negativity. What is said may affect the thinking the candidates have, but please use care when you offer your thoughts. I tire quickly of polemics directed at me that are extreme or too ideoligical, one way or the other. Imagine how candiates for office feel about such comments.

And I suspect the current candidates are all terrific folks, so they need points of view on the issues, not their qualifications or character. Unless there is a point of view that the sort of background a candidate has does not fit with the imperatives we need from our next City Council.

5 positions are up for election. Think about your choices seriously.

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