By Stuart Soffer
We need Chelsea Nguyen for City Council District 3Uploaded: Sep 23, 2020
Hard to think that it has been 26 years since we moved to Menlo Park in 1994. Because I was concerned about the speed to traffic in Linfield Oaks, along the way I volunteered as a worker on the City Council campaigns for Paul Collacchi, Steve Schmidt and Mary Jo Borak. If you want to meet people, joining a campaign as a worker bee is an easy – and fun - way to expand your horizons. I ultimately was appointed to the Planning Commission and Finance Audit Committee which provided at lot of experience with the dynamics of staff, neighborhoods and project applicants.
I considered running this election for District 3. I was encouraged by friends, family and neighbors. But then recalled my aversion to long meeting zoom meetings. The City Council should consider and enact a policy that all private electronic communications with the public during a meeting should be made part of the public record.
When I evaluate new candidates, I first the examine the relevance of a candidate’s personal and professional experience – relevant to ascending to council being a council member - especially experience with city commissions that have voting authority.
I was intrigued by Chelsea Nguyen's background - 40 year MP resident and Air Force veteran. When I ultimately met Chelsea a few weeks ago, I knew Menlo Park deserves and should have someone with constitution on the Council. What I observe as her largest strength: courage, a part of her DNA. Her volunteer work is exceptional: being a single working mother with a special needs child and still putting all her energy anytime she's needed.
Chelsea is passionate about the issues. She gets emotional when talking about them. For her, it's never about the talking points, just to get elected. She is an independent thinker, not a puppet for anyone. I know if elected, she will listen and do what is best for Menlo Park. She is not swayed by money, power and politics. She told me if elected, she will probably be the poorest City Council member ever. She is as real as they come.
Chelsea mentioned in one of our conversations that she is not ashamed of her life challenges life has tossed her path. When she related that she came from Vietnam I had images of helicopters landing on the rooftop of the American Embassy in Saigon; of being poor, being harassed, discriminated against, other social injustices. She told me her life is the "sum" of who she is, all good and bad roll into one, and she is glad for it. She has grit.
We have never had anyone like her running in our City. She is real. She is a breath of fresh air. She has all the right stuff.
Please join me in welcoming her to the council. We need someone like her: integrity, courage and not easily bought.