The colleagues memo, written by alleged moderate or residentialists Karen Holman, Greg Schmid, Pat Burt and “the diplomat” Cory Wolbach, about “city engagement” reminds me of the Steven Bruton song, as sung by Jeff Bridges in “Crazy Heart”: falling seems like flying for a little while.
What we need, maybe is districting. Meaning let’s carve up Palo Alto into five districts such that South Palo Alto has the same voice as North Palo Alto and is not shouted down constantly, along wealth lines, “downtown” versus residentialists, or “the 300” versus the other 59,000 of us.
This top-down initiative is the exact opposite of what we probably need, “civic engagement” from the grass-roots on up. The average Palo Altan (where 80 percent of us, clearly, are well above average) could chime in, lean up, speak out, run for commission, form an NGO.
This is like the bogus Measure D that was pushed thru by the power structure to limit input into leadership and reduce council from 9 to 7. If citizens had felt this would be an improvement –purportedly for efficiency — we would have asked for it or acted.
The memo wants to put another layer — on the level of neighborhood associations, or worse a network of “ombudsmen” — I call them “trustys” — between the people and leadership. This is bass-ackwards if you excuse my french.
And further: I don’t even live in one of the 37 official neighborhoods — where does that leave me?
When it touts the role of social media I say the exact opposite: these things have harmed us, have disrupted the traditional and recent history of leadership being accessible to the average citizen.
I would put that leadership — elected Council, appointed commissions, paid staff — are largely unrepresentative and unresponsive. Money talks, bullshit walks. In this case, and this is perhaps an overly simplified model, one special interest, the Billion Dollar Real Estate Cartel, displaces and disrupts the basic fabric of our Democracy.
I don’t think the colleagues memo helps at all; it probably does the exact opposite. It discourages and depresses. Yuck.
Read George Packer. Read Ralph Nader. All this talk about platforms: we are probably the most poorly read community in the history of civilization. And that Peter Kageyuma presentation was a joke. What a bunch of cliches.
This white paper is like San Francisco’s Crazy Crab, the anti-mascot. It’s only potential value is a a lightning rod of jeers and derision.
Mayor Karen Holman, if you want to lead a Democracy and not a Dollarocracy of deMOCKracy, maybe start by holding office hours. Or answering your own doorbell.
outro: JC Brooks, out of Chicago, on Daytrotter, not far from there, but nationally known “there’s not easy way to fall when you’re already heading for the ground” and thematically sort of wraps around to my 4/20 Deadhead thingy, track 3 “I Got or Get High”, from 2011 Bloodshot release. And I noted that Josh Ritter, whose manager is not only a Gunn grad but still lives here, has the top rated Daytrotter session, above MGMT and Vampire Weekend.
But check out brother JC.
also I don’t like it when Karen limits oral communications or open forum to 2 minutes each rather than the Democratic 3. Or that I waited from 9 to 11 last night to hear this and then they punted it to Policy and Services rather than airing it, even at that hour, and Doria Summa and Jeff Levinskly were hanging in there presumaby to speak (Doria sort of did).
and to the extent that I have preserved this as a draft, and circulated it a bit privately rather than just publishing it, I checked and the 2 or 3 most recent Buena Vista pieces I wrote have 0 readers so far, so what’s the dif?