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Portola Valley's mayor reveals why fellow council candidate was fired from town committee

Original post made on Oct 3, 2022

Mayor Craig Hughes revealed at an election forum that fellow candidate Dale Pfau was fired from a town committee because he undermined female committee members and made disparaging remarks about them.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, October 3, 2022, 10:38 AM

Comments (13)

Posted by Meg
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Oct 3, 2022 at 1:07 pm

Meg is a registered user.

Wow, total muck racking. Dubious attacks on committee members and members of the public using the Almanac has become the norm for PV Town government. They will cry about people not wanting to serve on committees and then go for the jugular of anyone who crosses them. Further Government unpleasantries include, leaving nasty filth laden phone messages on home answering systems, attempts to eject people who ask pointed questions from public meetings with three council members in attendance, and attacks on citizens using the PVForum. One wonders how low the current crop at PV Town Center will go and how much the Almanac will enable them. My personal experience is that it is the current town goverment that lacks respect for the opinions of women. It is truly embarrassing to see this behavior.

Posted by PV Resident
a resident of Portola Valley: Portola Valley Ranch
on Oct 4, 2022 at 9:41 pm

PV Resident is a registered user.

Meg, the hyperventilated language isn’t just part of the problem; it’s the core. Who’d bother to engage? Dale may be smart and aligned with your priorities but he’s also demonstrated a well-established pattern as described. His twitter feed says all you need to know.

Posted by David B
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Oct 5, 2022 at 9:17 am

David B is a registered user.

A few weeks ago, on another story, I commented that "I had heard that Dale was quite disrespectful of the women on the committee". The Almanac opted to remove that post, but I'm happy the truthfulness of that post has been validated.

The following is also truthful: people in PV are becoming aware of the radical nature of Dale's previous tweets and re-tweets on Twitter before he took them down. Including that his profile photo was a photo of G. Gordon Liddy (really?). Is this a person that PV wants in a position of leadership and power?

Posted by Thoughtful
a resident of Atherton: other
on Oct 5, 2022 at 9:22 am

Thoughtful is a registered user.

I think Dale Pfau's e-mails did show a hostility to other committee members, and when committee members are unelected volunteers, there's some sort of understanding that there is supposed to be a relatively civil, apolitical, atmosphere.

Yet, this should not impact Dale Pfau's quest to join the Town Council as that is an elected, political, position, and the fierce advocacy he exhibits is appropriate for this position. Vote for him based on his platform, not the committee issue.

Posted by PV Resident
a resident of Portola Valley: Portola Valley Ranch
on Oct 5, 2022 at 1:30 pm

PV Resident is a registered user.

I appreciate Thoughtful's suggestion that we have a baseline of decency for committee members. But are you saying that women volunteers on the town council should expect and submit themselves to a pattern of marginalization and denigration as part of their role? Your defence of "fierce advocacy" seem parallel to "locker room talk." One can be an advocate AND also be kind or at least respectful.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Oct 6, 2022 at 4:17 pm

Resident is a registered user.

More to the point about those considering voting for councilmembers Craig Hughes is that he was the only council member that did not endorse the recently passed Portola Valley School Bond Measure Z.

All other members supported this bond measure. I hope he responds to the Almanac and to Portola Valley Parents (who are likely also interested in public high schools -- he states his kids went to the Priory) why he took this position and how he stands on the Sequioa Union High School Bond (Measure W). If he supports one and not the other what is his rationale?

Posted by Menlo 2024
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Oct 6, 2022 at 7:28 pm

Menlo 2024 is a registered user.

At some point you have to look at why it there a formal town government anyways? How much could be saved by going unincorporated???

Posted by Former PVSF board officer
a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Oct 6, 2022 at 9:18 pm

Former PVSF board officer is a registered user.

Agreed that Dale's comments were not polite. However, linking them to sexism, locker room talk, marginalization, etc. seems a stretch. Correlation does not imply causation. As over 3/4 of Dale's fellow committee members around this time were women, it seems statistically probable that most or all comments would reference female members. None of the comments were sexist.

Dale's endorsements include three current and/or former female members of town committees Dale has chaired or participated in. Women who have served with him on the board of the Woodside Priory (which he chaired) speak highly of him.

As context, the Wildfire Preparedness Committee at that time had far greater problems than Dale's careless words. It had lost about half its members, couldn't raise a quorum and was facing a lawsuit regarding a Brown Act violation. Those wanting to dig deeper can reference Bob Turcott's June 17th posting (#163588) in the PV Forum. It includes several links, one of which links to a resignation letter from a Fire Preparedness Committee member.

Dale currently chairs the Emergency Preparedness Committee which by all accounts runs efficiently and functions well.

Those who view occasional disparaging remarks as an absolute disqualification for service should in good faith also eliminate Craig Hughes from consideration, as his harsh remarks to and about residents are legion.

And David B. - you would enhance your credibility by being honest about your place of residence. Many of us know you moved to Montecito years ago. Use the drop-down menu under "neighborhood" to choose "other" rather than "Central PV" - it's quite easy to do.

My pronouns are she/her

Posted by PV Resident
a resident of Portola Valley: other
on Oct 7, 2022 at 11:05 am

PV Resident is a registered user.

Feels like a hit piece.
This is the organization who wants to keep Portola Valley from being dictated to by Sacramento.

Read their stance and the above articles bias becomes clearer.

Vote out incumbent mayor and council in November!

Posted by David B
a resident of another community
on Oct 7, 2022 at 1:10 pm

David B is a registered user.

Apologies to anonymous Board Officer... I selected "Central PV" out of many years of habit. I now live in another community (not Montecito) but can't edit that post.

Where I live now doesn't change the facts that I reported.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Oct 7, 2022 at 6:07 pm

Resident is a registered user.

Isn't it possible in a small town to stop the politics of personal destruction and run on this issues. I don't know that I agree that fire is the primary concern in PV. It might well be how we should inteligently comply with state mandates. I also am concerned about our elementary and high schools and strongly support bond issues that will provide better learning environments for our nect generation.

My disagreement with the Mayor (Craig Hughes) is his partial disclosure and whether the persons who accuse Dale of being disrespectful are of a different political persuasion. Dale has sat on the Priory Board and I have not heard these critiques (of sexism) made by those members,. If our mayor thought it necessary to name Dale at this point in the camopaign wouldnt it be helpful to know who was accusing him and whether they may have had a political motive (could it be another Committee member that has been politically active in the community?) As an independent minded person it would be helpful to know if there might be bias in the accusations. Our democracy depends on the accused having a fair right of defense and Craig Hughes attacks deny him that right, unless he was also willing to name the person bringing these accusations.

Posted by Lowell Sears
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Oct 8, 2022 at 9:11 pm

Lowell Sears is a registered user.

I am shocked and appalled by Mr. Pfau’s actions in disparaging and demeaning women volunteers who have devoted many years of service to our Portola Valley community. My wife MJ Lee has served conscientiously in multiple roles on town committees since moving here 28 years ago. She is currently providing guidance as a member of the Wildfire Committee in the weekly Wildfire Preparation Tips published by the town. Portola Valley deserves council members who treat dedicated volunteers with respect and equality. Mr. Pfau is clearly unfit to serve.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Oct 9, 2022 at 11:59 am

Resident is a registered user.

Congrats Lowell, I am glad to see that after so many years together you and MJ Lee are finally married.

I do not know if it is fair to judge Dave based on anonymous allegations. He was on the
board of the priory and didn’t have a problem there. Could it be that heated arguments over policy got conflated with being disrespectful? This seems to happening on all sides today.

What is really wrong in my opinion is to let disagreements over policy morph into a personal,attack. I have found virtually all of my Portola Valley neighbors to be good people, regardless of political persuasion. Coaching and an honest reflection on behavior can solve lots of problems that might arise in the heat of the moment. Couldn't that be the case here? Dave is making an honest effort to reconcile and that should be enough. We are nit electing the future president of the United States but a town council member.

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