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Original post made
on Sep 29, 2008
As someone who has been deeply involved in civic affairs in Atherton for many years I think the time has come to change the direction of our Town Council. California's model of strong Town/City Managers (under which a Council establishes the goals and policy for the City, and appoints a City Manager to oversee the day-to-day operations of the City) has served the citizens of California well.
The Atherton Town Council needs to start providing strategic direction and to stop micromanaging the daily operations of the Town. We Atherton residents have too long had a Council which spends its time on minor issues and endless debates rather than providing policy direction on the few keys issue which the Town faces. Atherton has a new, strong and experienced Town Manager and the Council also now has the opportunity to select a new Town Attorney.
The Council should empower Town Manager Gruber and then hold him accountable for how well he and his very capable staff perform. They should select a new Town Attorney who will provide both legal advice and specific recommendations for action and who will work cooperatively with the Town Manager.
An essential step in this transformation is getting some new faces on the Town Council - an opportunity provided by this Candidates Forum and the forthcoming November election.
With two new Council members, the new Town Manager and a new Town Attorney, Atherton could become a model of an effective and efficient local government which is responsive to its citizens.
Thanks to the League of Women Voters for hosting this important event.
I am shocked and saddened at the League's insensitivity in scheduling the Menlo Park debate to conflict with the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur.
Not only is this an affront to the Jews who live in Menlo Park (yes, there are a few of us), it is an outright insult to candidate Andy Cohen, who is Jewish, and who will now be forced to make a choice that no one running for office should have to make.
The election is still 6 weeks away, and it isn't too late for the League to reschedule this event.
What about the whole "separation of church and state"? where is that crowd?
Its not the "League's" job to know everyone's stinkin' holidays. I highly doubt it was a personal attack, settle down.
If Cohen has a problem with it he can speak up and request a change in event dates. If the LOWV balks than Mr. Cohen if he has any principles can not show up because of his religious commitments.
Find something important to complain about.
The League is not a government entity. Church and state arguments are irrelevant here.
The League wouldn't schedule a debate on Christmas. Yom Kippur is at least as significant.
Its not anti-semetic. If they had a debate on Christmas and I was invited, I wouldn't show up. Or even more importantly Easter.
The Church and State comment was to illustrate the obsurdity of the previous post. Someone trying to make something of NOTHING.
If there are no Jews in the LOWV how the heck are they supposed to know the significance. At which point Cohen should act like a big boy and request a change. and "Unholy Compromises" should find some kind of hobby.
Maybe the League could check the calendar? It's not exactly an obscure day. It's on the school calendar in Menlo Park, and in Palo Alto, it's always been a school holiday too. But then, Palo Alto doesn't pride itself on being a Christian community the way that Menlo Park does.
Since Andy is Jewish, I would certainly think he might decline to appear. I know I would if I were he.
Menlo Park prides itself on being a Christian community?
People, your beef is with the League of Women Voters. I'm not Jewish, but I know when Yom Kippur is, and I don't live in Menlo Park because it's some sort of haven for Christians. This is the first time I've heard anything of the sort, and I've lived here for years.
I can look at a calender, but just because it says "Yom Kippur" doesn't mean I know what it is or give a rats....tail...
If it matters to Andy, its his responsibility.
The problem with Menlo Park is people obviously don't have any real problems to worry about.
The US congress just had a 2 day adjournment for the Jewish New Year. the adjourned in respect for the holiday, in spite of the very urgent economic matters before them. Here is the League of Women voters deciding the the most holy day in the Jewish calendar, Kol Nidre evening, is to be ignored and this debate is to be held on that date.
It is not only a decision for whether any candidate should appear, let me assure you that the vast majority of Jewish residents will not be attending.
The date simply needs to be changed.
For those of us who are non-Jewish but try to be sensitive, this one could have been difficult to detect. I just looked at my google calendar onto which I downloaded "Jewish Holidays" and it has "Day of Atonement" on Thursday - not Yom Kippur starting on Wednesday. A friend informed me that the holiday actually begins at sundown the evening before. Now I know more.
This IS an unfortunate situation, and the two players who need to sort this out are candidate Cohen and the League. If Cohen doesn't object to the date, then those who can't come can watch the forum later from their computer.
Regarding the unfortunate scheduling of the Menlo Park City Council Candidates Forum on the eve of Yom Kippur...
I'm the Voter Service chair for the League of Women Voters of South San Mateo County, and we are the sponsor and organizer for this forum. On behalf of the League, I want to apologize to the Jewish community and to Mr. Cohen for this oversight. I personally was responsible for setting the date of the forum. I wasn't aware of this conflict at the time we set the date, and it was not raised to my attention until yesterday evening. Now that I'm aware of this, we are working to see whether we can move the forum to a different night.
Please stay tuned!
Ms Armstrong-I hope this forum now fills with comments echoing what I am about to say. You are a true inspiration. I am going to share your post with my 16 year old daughter and, like it or not, use you as a role model for her. A simple mistake acknowledged and an apology that I sincerely hope anyone who was offended sincerely accepts. I don't know you, but I deeply respect you. And, on top of it all, a person who puts in the time and effort to be active in matters of social importance. I think you are very special!!
Wow. What a classy lady, from an organization I've long admired. This is a great reminder why.
Thank you, Kathy. I would have been very disappointed to have missed the debate.
Thanks for stepping up and helping. We are all very grateful for your attention.
Ill even give props to Ms. Armstrong for that one.
Hello again from the League of Women Voters!
I wanted to give the readers here a quick update on where we are with trying to reschedule the Menlo Park candidates forum. We're trying to nail down an alternative date that will work for the candidates, the venue, the media, our event staffing, the broader community, etc. We have a potential date identified, but have not yet been able to confirm feasibility with all the key players. We will make a decision on this by the end of the day today, and the Almanac will be informed just as soon as we've made that decision.
Also, I was made aware this morning that there may have been a flyer that was circulated at the Atherton Candidates Forum last evening which incorrectly stated that we have changed the date for the Menlo Park forum. That was unfortunately a premature statement, as we haven't yet been able to confirm an alternate date. Again, please stay tuned and we'll provide an update as soon as a decision has been made.
Thanks for your interest and patience!
As announced in another thread, Kathy got the date changed to Oct 22sd, 7:300 to 9:00 PM -- Menlo Park City Council chambers.
Great work Kathy.
Thanks to Kathy and the League for coming through on this. I'm looking forward to attending.
An update from the League of Women Voters:
This is to confirm that we have rescheduled the Menlo Park City Council Candidates Forum. Instead of the original date of Wed, Oct 8, the forum will now take place on Wed, Oct 22 at 7:30-9:00 pm in the Menlo Park City Council Chambers at 701 Laurel St. The format will be opening statements from the candidates, followed by moderated questions submitted on cards from the audience, followed by closing statements. The forum will be recorded and played back several times on local channel 27 (see Web Link for the schedule of replays). It will also be available for viewing on-demand through either the Community Media Center website or through www.smartvoter.org, the League's election central website.
Please share this information with your friends and neighbors, and we look forward to seeing you all on the 22nd!
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