Jan 14 2012

Opinion: Identifying Problems is Important Role of the City Council

Dear Editor:  As I read the January 11th issue of the Piedmont Post, I was drawn to the Opinion piece by Cameron Wolfe, Jr.  I’m glad that it was called an “opinion” because it was long on opinion and virtually non-existent on fact on one of the candidates.  Daniel Patrick Moynihan is famous for having coined the expression:  “Everyone is entitled their own opinions, but not their own facts.”  He was contesting erroneous facts;  I am concerned with a lack of facts.

Mr. Wolfe extols what he considers to be the fact-based virtues of Bob McBain and Margaret Fujikoa in their candidacy for City Council, but then proceeds to accuse Tim Rood of negativity, but without supporting facts.  I do not for one minute mean to disparage any accomplishments of Mr. McBain or Ms. Fujikoa.  What I am challenging is innuendo in the case of what was said about Mr. Rood.

Piedmont voters are well-read, intelligent and, from what I can see, overwhelmingly committed to ensuring a successful place in which to live and raise their families.  They understand clearly that running for City Council is not the same as running for prom royalty.  It is not a popularity contest.  The people that the voters entrust with management of Piedmont’s future must be people with a professional attitude and a track record in management.  Professionals are those who know that they need to recognize facts, not wishful thinking, and sometimes need to identify when the emperor’s clothes are a bit thin and need repairing.  Hard decisions  are often required.  To recognize this sometimes involve pointing out what is not going right.

Here are some facts:

  • There has been an extraordinary growth in City employee salary and fringe benefits costs.  Employee and retiree benefits are currently 53% of the City’s total salaries budget. This is up from 33% just five years ago, resulting in an ADDITIONAL $1.8 million in annual expenses, an amount exceeding the annual revenues from the City’s parcel tax.
  • The Municipal Tax Review Committee (MRTC) has warned that the City is on an unsustainable financial path.  City reserves have fallen 50% over the past five years and the City faces a projected annual budget deficit of $2.2 million in 2017.
  • The City Council needs to be totally transparent so that the citizens will know what is going on in City government.
  • There needs to be third party analysis of risks associated with future construction projects, so that there is not a repeat of the $2.5 million cost overrun that happened in the Piedmont Hills Undergrounding District project.

Tim Rood has raised each of these concerns during his campaign.  If doing so means that he is being “negative,” then I encourage such “negativity” on the City Council.  The situations facing Piedmont are some of the most critical that I have seen since moving here in 1978 and require strong, decisive fact-based decisions.

Thank you,

Jim McCrea

Editors note:  The opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily represent the opinions of the Piedmont Civic Association.

One Response to “Opinion: Identifying Problems is Important Role of the City Council”

  1. Dear Editor:

    Grateful. This is the feeling I share with friends and neighbors about living in our fair city: we’re grateful – especially around election time.

    For starters, we can register to vote and cast our ballots in relative ease. We’re not threatened, or denied access because of a lack of identification, we simply greet our neighbors, sign in and vote, or mail in our ballots – our choice.

    We’re grateful for the terrific group of candidates running for City Council and School Board. Our candidates offer a depth of professional experience, knowledge of the pertinent issues, and a welcome decorum in this close race. They’re a class act.

    And there is one candidate that I’m particularly grateful for running and this is Tim Rood, candidate for Piedmont City Council. A professional architect and city planner, Tim has honed his managerial and diplomacy chops in successfully developing and overseeing municipal revitalization projects and neighborhood planning with respect to safety, environmental, aesthetic and historical considerations. Tim has listened to and collaborated with diverse personalities, attitudes, and cultures that make up city councils and neighborhood coalitions around the Bay Area, including San Rafael, Healdsburg, Oakland and Martinez, as well as cities from Oregon to Minnesota. Often bridging the needs of differing and, at times, contentious positions, Tim’s work day includes considering a host of conflicting, urgent and unattainable needs and then forging a workable solution. Mindful that cities work best when its citizens feel listened to, respected and encouraged to participate, Tim brings to Piedmont broad professional experience in managing, revitalizing and growing a city’s resources. I’m grateful Tim Rood is running for Piedmont City Council.

    Lastly, I’m grateful that Piedmont welcomes newcomers of all beliefs, ethnicities, and races. It’s what supports our city’s social fabric. And while there are some folks voicing concern over Tim Rood’s relative newcomer status in serving Piedmont, casting his candidacy in dire suspicion, most voters are eager for some fresh ideas backed up by a substantial skill set. Like most municipalities in California, we face some hard challenges and choices these next years with respect to a loss of revenue, increased financial obligations and an aging infrastructure. We need a candidate with Tim Rood’s professional experience to complement the areas of expertise of our current Council members. I invite you to support Tim Rood for Piedmont City Council.

    See you at the polls on February 7!

    Denise Bostrom

Leave a Comment