Oct 14 2012

PCA Editorial: Respecting Piedmont Volunteers

Many Contribute Time, Effort, and Expertise  –

Many Piedmont residents are dedicated volunteers who contribute their time and talents to help make our community a better place to live.  Attention has recently focused on Michael Rancer, Chair of the 2011 Municipal Tax Review Committee (MTRC), who for the past two years, has applied his expertise and knowledge of budgets and public financing to help shine a bright light on Piedmont’s financial issues.

In 2011, Rancer was selected by the City Council to serve on the MTRC, and was then elected Chair of the Committee by his fellow Committee members. The 9-member Committee met for months in Spring 2011 and, under Rancer’s leadership, produced an extensive analysis of the City’s budget and financial projections.  The report was praised unanimously by the City Council.

In the March 2012 local election, Rancer publicly supported Measure A, the sewer service surcharge, and signed the “pro” argument  in the Voters Handbook.

Rancer’s education and professional background make him well qualified to assess Piedmont’s financial and budget issues. Consider his resume:

At  the Piedmont League of Women Voters Forum on Thursday, Oct.11, Rancer represented the “No on Measure Y” portion of the presentations. During his presentation, he  commented that he thought the personal attacks against opponents of Measure Y  should cease. Rancer had good reason for his comment, since he is the subject of a verbal attack by Councilman Jeff Weiler posted on Weiler’s  Facebook page.  Letter to City Council requesting an apology from Council Member Wieler; Letter to Council Member Wieler.

As Chair of the  MTRC, Rancer carefully considered various aspects of Piedmont financial matters.  Despite originally supporting the proposed Piedmont parcel tax renewal (Measure Y), he reversed his position when, in his opinion, City actions recommended by the MTRC were not taken.

Piedmont is fortunate to have generous citizens, such as Michael Rancer, who donate long hours to serve on City commissions, special committees, the School Board, City Council and numerous other public service positions.  PCA applauds all Piedmonters who contribute their time and talents to making our community a better place to live and  believe that, regardless of their personal viewpoints, these dedicated individuals deserve our recognition and respect.


4 Responses to “PCA Editorial: Respecting Piedmont Volunteers”

  1. Thank you, PCA, for this editorial. Let’s take the high road on our discourse, stick to the facts, and avoid personal attacks. When someone as knowledgeable and measured as Mike Rancer opposes Measure Y, it’s worth asking why.

  2. Yes, much thanks to PCA. This attack on Mike Rancer is the most recent in a string of personal attacks by Mr. Weiler towards other residents. His denigrating and dismissive comments concerning the Planning Commission after their Feb. 24, 2011 negative findings, evidently not in agreement with his advocacy viewpoint on the then proposed Blair Park Sports Fields Project, were particularly offensive. His comparison of an entire neighborhood, the Moraga Canyon residents, as Taliban terrorists is well known. The motive then was evidently the same, they disagreed with his position.

    We live in a time when “kill the messenger” is no longer acceptable. A discourse based on a healthy exchange of ideas moves communities forward. The City Council can take an important role in this by agendizing and discussing some type of censure action, or minimally voice its disapproval.

  3. PCA, thank you for addressing this issue. In a town that relies so heavily on the volunteerism of its citizens, it is unfortunate that an elected official would so publicly denigrate one. This recent diatribe (http://www.piedmontcivic.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Letter-to-J-Wieler-100912.pdf) is a personal attack on Mike Rancer but starts out by questioning his credentials. A similar insult was levied against the Planning Commission when it advised City Council not to proceed with Blair Park but to instead consider the alternative proposal. It is ironic that an elected official who touts his construction background and negotiating skills would question the credentials of others when the two biggest problems facing the city are poor project administration and unsustainable labor contracts. Hopefully, Piedmont’s volunteers-to-be will not be put off by these incidents – they do not represent the opinion of City Council.

    Piedmont citizens need respect as well. The recent LWV Forum touched on this issue when the question of civility in our campaigns was raised. There have been a growing intemperance in Piedmont’s elections and now in the Measure Y campaign. What I find particularly insidious is the labeling of public commentators as “negative” and “anti-Piedmont” when they offer opinions. For example, in a local paper, I and others were accused of “trying to prevent good from happening in Piedmont” because of our positions on Measure Y. That is obviously absurd and such comments have no place in a community such as Piedmont. As Kathleen says, stick to the high road – we are the Highlanders after all. For those who can’t find that road, I suggest enrolling in the PHS Civics class.

  4. Councilman Keating highlights well the essence of the negative aspect of discourse in Piedmont. Evidently because of a letter I put into staff and Council recently, Mayor Chiang’s policy now allows brief response by Council to resident comments made during Open Forum (this is in compliance with the Brown Act). But a troubling aspect has arisen where Councilmembers can then ask residents questions and residents are then cutoff and denied the opportunity to respond. This occurred Monday night when Mr. McBain asked Neil Teixeira a pointed question and Neil attempted to respond and was stopped by Mayor Chiang.

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