Piedmont Neighborhood News

What's happening in Piedmont, CA

Piedmont Council & School Board Endorsements

Posted by Len Gilbert on February 6, 2012

You may, or may not have noticed that no deluge of letters were published on the PNN this election. The reason is primarily because the bulk of the initial “letters” would be more aptly called press releases and I didn’t want a campaign with a better PR person to get space while an equally qualified candidate would not. I also feel that the deluge of letters sometimes distracts from the goal: elect the best qualified candidates for the positions.

Contested elections are great for democracy. They give different candidates a chance to express their ideas and opinions and the voters then decide which candidates have the best mix of experience and ideas. “Experience” means different things to people; to me, it is a combination of education, volunteer activities, awareness of Piedmont’s issues, and work background. In this and the last council election, candidates with excellent professional experience and educational background were criticized for not “volunteering” enough before seeking a council seat. I feel that volunteering is a fantastic community service and can give you great exposure to different elements of Piedmont’s community, but I put more weight in a city council candidate who has professional experience managing finances or urban planning over someone who has volunteered on the booster club or the school parents club. For school board, leading a parents club, sitting on curriculum committees, helping the district implement GATE programs, the parcel tax committee, or working to keep 4th grade music in schools is very important. Mere “volunteering” isn’t enough, it must be relevant to the position.

Some have questioned whether the council will be “cohesive” if certain candidates are elected. I think that we need council members who ask questions and want details before spending our taxpayer funds. We have many financial challenges facing both the council and the school board and we need people who are not interested in “business as usual”. Both the school district and city staff provide reports and recommendations to those elected to make the executive decisions. Sometimes a critical look and an independent appraisal of those recommendations might yield new and creative solutions. Without careful consideration, adequate due diligence, and the will to ask questions that may be uncomfortable for some, Piedmont’s city and schools may not be as financially sound and strong as we have come to expect and enjoy.

We are fortunate to have  a great slate of candidates for the school board and city council, some familar, some new to Piedmont politics. Here is who I am supporting and I encourage you to vote for them this Tuesday, February 7th.

Jon Elliott, school board

Jon’s thorough and thoughtful approach will be a great addition to the current board. I feel he will be able to help guide us through the difficult financial times our district and state are having while ensuring that we always keep the top-notch educational experience of Piedmont’s schools as the goal. Jon’s experience both with financial and curriculum issues will be invaluable.

Sarah Pearson, school board

Sarah, like Jon, has a great mix of experience as co-chair of the parcel tax committee as well as leader of various parents groups including the Piedmont Parents Network combined with her professional experience as a pediatrician give her an approach that will benefit our children. Sarah can get people to think creatively to solve issues and generate consensus.

Tim Rood, city council

Tim has the professional background needed to help Piedmont look to the future and ensure that our city’s excellent services and infrastructure retain their high quality. We have many financial challenges and we need someone who is willing to ask questions and look for answers and different solutions.

Please remember to vote this Tuesday and I hope you’ll join me in supporting Jon, Sarah, and Tim.

Voter Info

Polling place: https://www.acgov.org/alco_ssl_app/rov/voter_info/voter_profile.jsp?formLanguage=E

Overview of Piedmont’s Election: http://www.acgov.org/rov/next2012-02-07.htm

Candidate Info: http://www.smartvoter.org/2012/02/07/ca/alm/ballot.html



4 Responses to “Piedmont Council & School Board Endorsements”

  1. Thank you, Len. Very well put.

  2. PIEDMONTERS can vote for 3 candidates for School Board. I encourage voters to make Andrea Swenson one of their 3 votes. Andrea has the financial background needed to deal with ongoing complex budget issues. For 15 years Andrea has identified problems and brought groups together to solve them. Andrea united City and School District agencies through six months of preparation and on-site support during the first anti-drunk driving program at PHS, creating an enduring template for city-school partnerships. Andrea re-vamped and led the largest, most critical fundraiser for our schools: The Piedmont Giving Campaign, securing a record dollar amount to fund academic programs.
    As President of Associated Parents Clubs of Piedmont, Piedmont High School, Piedmont Middle School and Wildwood School, Andrea managed parent club budgets and contributed to budget advisory committee discussions for 10 years, gaining a strong grasp of school funding and spending. Andrea organized community-building panel discussions on Civic Involvement and Civic Engagement for Piedmont LWV. Cleary, a task very well done because she is now in a contested election! Andrea comprehends the larger K through 12 picture. Her two children are recent graduates from Piedmont Schools. Andrea is able to make decisions with a tenured point of view.
    Andrea helped develop The PIEDMONT PORTAL to improve how we convey information to parents and the broader community.
    In 2010, Andrea received the Art Hecht Volunteer of the Year Award in recognition of her service.

    • Thanks for your comment Conna. (Piedmontvotes is Conna McCarthy, campaign chair for Andrea Swenson’s campaign)

      • YIKES! yes- yes-yes Len……me and so many more..16 past & present school board members; 40 past & present parent club presidents, 10 past and present City Council members and over 650 community members.
        Fondly, Conna

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