One challenge that faces some elected officials is to recognize their responsibilities as well as the limitations in the elected roles.
For instance, City Council members do not make policy for the schools and vice versa. Councils and school boards can devise ways to cooperate and support each other when there are opportunities for collaboration, but setting policy for growth is up to the council and determining curriculum for classrooms is a requirement of the school board.
Local and state elected officials do not make foreign policy despite what the folks in Berkeley and other bastions of left wing thinking may believe.
Three members of the Pleasanton City Council ventured well out of bounds at the current council’s last meeting together (three members are termed out) when they decided to move forward with city financial support for a Peace Foundation.
The members were responding to Fred Norman who has consistently spoken at council meetings over a number of years to urge the council members to take a stand against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Until last week, council members listened politely and took no formal action.
That changed last week.
I cannot think of anyone I know who is against peace. That said, there certainly are times when acts of aggression—domestic or foreign—require a non-peaceful (violent) response. Evil exists in this fallen world.
The issue I have with the Peace Foundation is using public money for what should be a private exercise.
Norman has every right (as do any of us) to incorporate and form a non-profit foundation to pursue his goal of peace. It’s no different than many organizations I’ve been involved with over the years. What’s wrong is that Mayor Jennifer Hosterman and council members Matt Sullivan and Cheryl Cook-Kallio decided it was appropriate use of public funds to support Norman’s efforts.
Retiring Councilwoman Cindy McGovern and Councilman Jerry Thorne were correct to object to the expenditure of public funds to support one man’s campaign. Norman deserves credit for his persistence, but it was a misguided vote by three council members that moved it ahead.
Fortunately, Sullivan and Hosterman did not prevail with their view that it should be an official city function as commissions are in Berkeley and Cambridge, MA—those are hardly cities that Pleasanton should emulate.
There are many worthy projects and city resources have not and should not be devoted to them.
SWITCHING GEARS—We received a robocall from former Dublin Mayor and Assemblyman Guy Houston who was supporting Eric Swalwell in his uphill race against the doddering 80-year-old Rep. Pete Stark. Stark was first elected to Congress in 1972 and has lived for years in Maryland and made very infrequent visits to his district.
The changes in the primary that allowed the top two finishers to advance to the general election opened the way for this Democrat vs. Democrat battle in a district with a substantial Democratic edge in registration. It’s a district that only a Dem can win.
Stark who is beloved by the far left wing of the Democrat Party has compiled a record that can be charitably described as undistinguished. That doesn’t stop the president and Sen. Dianne Feinstein from endorsing him—the party loyalty at the expense of competence is remarkable.
With a tongue that routinely runs well ahead of his brain, a challenge from within was likely—it was only a question of when.
What was striking were the policy initiatives that Houston’s recorded call attributed to Swalwell when his campaign web site follows typical Democrat doctrine.
Of course, for conservative voters, the choice of anyone but Pete is an easy one.