The winner of an election is not any group of candidates. The winner is the ideas expressed by a few sincere individuals who speak their truth to the best of their ability. The name attached to the winning ideas matters less than the ideas themselves.
Greater citizen participation will make for greater citizen satisfaction and trust. With trust will come and financial balance will be restored and we will be able to rebuild the City's aging infrastructure. There is work to do to restore that trust. Can we as a City really look at ourselves without being defensive and compare our practices with our neighbors? The numbers may show that we have to go on a financial diet. The challenge will be to openly look at the business of being a City and avoid any attachment to historical ways. No denial. This is a new day.
Clearly, being Green needs to be in the fabric all actions we take.
Another winner will be community participation. (Real community participation, not just technical compliance with the Open Meeting laws.) Just watch the awareness of City issues grow as more people are invited in to the decision-making process.
Long-term financial planning and fiscal responsibility also will win. We must find room in our operating budget for infrastructure so that our $450 million backlog of "deferred maintenance" doesn't continue to grow. We must focus our priorities, make some hard decisions, and make sure that we are advocating for the future where there is always enough set aside to keep our streets in good repair, and our utility right-of-ways up to the most modern (i.e. underground) standards.
The other winner will be "Representative Government." We must have a diverse Council that welcomes a diversity of experiences and backgrounds. We need more than just a group of people who rise from the ranks of City Commissions. There will be room for the PTA mother/father who hasn't had time to hover around City politics, because she/he has been busy with family and school activities.
The real life experiences of Palo Alto citizens will be a natural path to greater civic engagement.
The children who have watched their daddy, or their friend's daddy participate in an election are also benefited by a model of participation that they see. The future generations will benefit by the extra fire and excitement that has been observed by the children who see that participation is an "ordinary" thing to do in a life, and step up to the plate without trepidation.
Thank you so much for your cooperation!