Residents elect council members to represent them and their interests in the important decisions that the town needs to make. For minor or everyday issues, that representation can simply mean that the council should use its best judgment. For the important matters, however, I believe that the council has an affirmative responsibility to solicit and gauge resident preferences, and not decide such matters based solely on their personal preferences.
This responsibility means that the council needs to work with staff to schedule agendas with sufficient planning time to determine which issues need more community input and then to actively schedule community meetings, request staff analysis and solicit public input, so that the sentiments of both Council and members of the community can be understood when decisions need to be made.
I would like to see the Council value input from the general community more highly and design its processes to facilitate and enable the Atherton Community to weigh in on important issues. In my mind, just the act of finding a way to engage the Atherton Community on important town issues is a key responsibility of being a Council member. If I am re-elected, this will remain a key task for me. We have a fabulous community of people in Atherton who have tremendous expertise and, I believe, our council should seek to access and honor that expertise. Instead of conducting the people’s business in a contentious manner, where the council factions battle each other along well-worn divisions, Atherton needs a Town Council that works very hard to understand how residents think about issues, what we believe we need and how to better communicate with our community. If I am re-elected to the Town Council, I believe that it is in this area of governance, responsible planning, communication and outreach to the community, that I can have the greatest positive impact on the Council.