Oct 25 2018

Opinion: Highly Unusual Criticism of Candidate

The current election cycle for Piedmont School Board has past and current Board members publicly criticizing Board candidate Hari Titan. The critiques are both highly unusual in Piedmont and frankly unwarranted. Hari has given great service to both the School Board and residents by uncovering the unnecessarily high taxpayer burden of Capital Appreciation Bonds (“CABs”) and the high cost of the failed Allen Harvey rehabilitation as compared to other new School theaters. The careful analysis by Hari unearthed the grossly excessive CAB debt costs and saved Piedmont taxpayers literally many millions. Instead of denunciations there should be public thanks from School Board members.

Beyond the School Board Establishment questioning Hari’s financial analysis, the bottom line takeaway is that Hari will shake things up in a manner neither welcome nor comfortable by the School Board; and yet this is exactly what we need. Hari has the expertise, determination and courage to drill down information put before the School Board by Staff and Consultants. As the Piedmont School Tax is literally double to 100 times any other School Tax in the state, and more money will be asked for soon, Hari Titan is critically needed on the School Board now. On November 6, Hari Titan has my vote.

By Rick Schiller, Piedmont Resident

3 Responses to “Opinion: Highly Unusual Criticism of Candidate”

  1. It is one thing to discuss issues in an objective manner, which is always appreciated. It is quite another thing to attempt to take credit for things which one may or may not have influenced. Titan may have good ideas, but I am put off by the way he always makes everything seem like he, and he alone, has all the answers. Criticizing is fine, but I have yet to see any concrete proposals he has advanced or thoughtful and objective analysis to support his claims.

  2. For Rob and anyone else doubting the level of extensive, thoughtful and objective analysis to support Hari Titan’s work, I would suggest that you review the vast content at http://www.harititan.com and the recordings of school board meetings ( http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/video/ ) over the past 4 or 5 years.

    Also, please see this PCA post detailing major elements of Hari’s work, written by a community leader very engaged with the school board and school issues for a number of years: https://www.piedmontcivic.org/2018/10/21/opinion-titan-positive-influence-on-school-district-finances/ .

    I know that Hari does not believes that he has all of the answers. Indeed, he has repeated positively (with acknowledgment) ideas of current school board members, and focuses his work where he can add the most value. Nor do I think that Hari is expert at delivering his messages in the most sweet manner possible, in part perhaps from a school board too often been resistant to his important messages. But the extent of Hari’s thoughtful and objective analysis on Piedmont school board issues is substantial and unparalleled, and the record online clearly reflects this.

  3. For Rob or anyone else doubting the level of Hari Titan’s thoughtful or objective analysis, I would suggest reviewing the vast materials available on his website at http://www.harititan.com and view the video archives (http://www.ci.piedmont.ca.us/video/) of the school board meetings over the past 5 years to see Dr. Titan’s substantial contributions.

    Also, I would encourage review of this article, written by a well-known and active community leader in the realm of Piedmont school issues to learn about some of Dr. Titan significant contributions:
    https://www.piedmontcivic.org/2018/10/21/opinion-titan-positive-influence-on-school-district-finances/ .

    Several of Hari Titan’s concrete positive proposals have now been adopted, thanks in part to his tireless efforts and mobilization of the public. Examples include:
    1. His suggestion of a re-build (under Measure H-1), rather than a proposed re-hab (under proposed Measure H), of the PHS Theater (similar cost, but much better results from re-build).
    2. Refinancing of CABs, and use of CIBs instead in school bonds financing (providing much lower interest costs).
    3. Extension of the Kindergarten day.

    Dr. Titan has further positive proposals that have not yet been adopted, including regarding School Board transparency and community engagement.

    Hari Titan certainly does not think that he has all of the answers, and has publicly advanced and cited good ideas of school board members.

    Dr. Titan may not sugar-coat his messages, but his unvarnished, extensive, thoughtful and objective analysis is just what we need on the School Board.

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