Jan 9 2012

City Council Candidates Discuss Issue 6: Public Forums on City Plans

The PCA posed a series of 10  questions to candidates for the Piedmont City Council in the upcoming election on February 7.   Following are the candidates’ entire responses to question #6:

Would you support holding one or more public forums or town hall meetings on City plans for the future of the following public facilities?

  • the East Wing of 801 Magnolia
  • the Piedmont swimming pool
  • future proposals for large capital improvement projects


Tim Rood, City Council Candidate, response:

Yes to all, absolutely. Having led over a hundred community workshops and worked with staff in 35 cities across the country, I have seen firsthand the dramatic difference that an open, inclusive and transparent public process can make in forging genuine community consensus and fostering public trust in government. These meetings should be televised and archived on KCOM for those not able to attend in person.

Margaret Fujioka, City Council Candidate, response:

I support public hearings whenever policy decisions are made regarding the use of public property, and that would include 801 Magnolia, the Piedmont Pool, and other proposals for large capital projects.

Robert McBain, City Council Candidate, response:

I support public hearings regarding the potential development of city assets.
The pool  is obviously a valuable city asset that has garnered much attention.
Let’s have an open, honest discussion about what the city wants and needs.
Regarding 801 Magnolia, the efforts by the Piedmont Center for the Arts have
been successful and constructive.  Let’s review realistic alternatives for the east
wing and the financial resources required to make use of that facility. In general,
we need to provide thorough hearings and seek judicious understanding of
the uses of our limited city facilities.  That was my approach when I served on
the Piedmont Recreation Commission and that will be the same approach I will
bring to the City Council.  Regarding the final part of the question that refers to
large scale public projects, I support full public hearings.

One Response to “City Council Candidates Discuss Issue 6: Public Forums on City Plans”

  1. I believe that most of the candidates have misinterpreted the question. The question posed asks about conducting public forums or town hall meetings when there are major issues before our City.

    Tim Rood, who has led many community workshops, agreed that they create an “open, inclusive” public process and ‘absolutely supports’ the idea town meetings. Margaret Fujioka and Bob McBain both underwrite ‘public hearings’. Public hearings (the type that were utilized for Blair Park) are one-way communications giving community members 2 to 3 minutes to address Council in a formal setting. Public hearings have failed to adequately avail the community to reach consensus.

    In the League of Women Voters Civic Engagement Forum, it was agreed by all panelists that public hearings (governed by the Brown Act) are NOT a productive forum of public engagement. Our City Council needs to recognize the difference.

    In my opinion, of the reported twenty-some public hearings held on Blair Park, only the scoping session was an open form. Period. It was the only meeting that participants were offered information and responses to their questions. As a result, they came away feeling heard.

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