Letter to Neighbors

Dear Friends,

I am running for Portola Valley Town Council. I am inspired to step up and take part in the leadership of this beautiful, rural town we all love so much, because I think I offer a slightly different perspective shared by many of us in Portola Valley on what should be our priorities. I want to share a few of the reasons I am most passionate about serving:

1. To increase and foster inclusivity and diversity in Portola Valley—We all need a voice.

We need to continue to find ways to foster an economically, racially, and ideologically diverse community where every voice feels valued, heard, and considered. Our Town Committees need some independence in setting their agendas and membership, especially when it comes to efforts to bring in more diversity in decision making and not just have members be appointed by current Council Members. Our local Home Owner’s Associations deserve a voice, as do our teachers and first responders. I hope to help achieve an equitable affordable housing program, as well as offering an even-handed approval process for to land owners — large and small – that allows for transparent, efficient and user-friendly permitting, devoid of exceptions on the basis of wealth or power. Having a page on the town web site for all building projects, and video attendance at all public meetings would be a nice, much needed start in some of the ideas I would like to see implemented. In the past ten years, more than a third of all homes in Portola Valley turned over or were built, we do not see much visibility of that demographic in our current Town Management. I want to encourage that group to be more vocal in town planning. 

2. To support smart and safe building and land management, safety and good land management to prioritize environmental concerns and fire and seismic safety over development pressure

Portola Valley needs a plan which reflects and enhances the rural character of our town “today”, while looking forward to find solutions to fairly address the housing needs of our community “tomorrow.” Of course, all of us have been drawn to this town because of our love of the outdoors, but as we have all seen that the need to plan and monitor development and preparedness is dire. I would like to explore the addition hiring of a Safety Officer to bring our fire and earthquake risk to a tolerable level. Rehearsals of our emergency response and practicing simulated evacuations ASAP will give residents the confidence that they seem to be asking for Emergency Preparedness. We need to take a hard look at our town budget and reduce our dependency on outside consultants when we can get qualified town residents hired for some of the positions if they knew they were available.  If we have any takeaways from our COVID 19 experience, it is that everyone does not need an office to do their job. Our local government has remained small since 1964 but it is growing without an obvious strategy and the recognition of that growth. Additionally, I would like to seek out voices of those who have laid the foundation of the sustenance of Portola Valley, recognizing the indigenous people who cared for these lands and have rights here, as well as our current pioneers in sustainability.

3. To work towards an updated and balanced General Plan which clearly supports contemporary environmental needs and safety issues

Even with our challenges of safety, inclusion, affordable housing, and beyond, our town needs a General Plan that strongly reflects the fragility of preserving the magical experience of living in Portola Valley. Our green connections, trails and conservation play a major role in protecting the Bay Area watershed, preserving green space, and granting access to the outdoors through biking, hiking, riding, playing fields, and the many experiences our town’s preservation provides to our residents and larger community. We are a beloved gateway to the Santa Cruz Mountains and part of a large trail and open space system that must receive our full attention moving forward, both in our respect for flora and fauna and care with our carbon footprint.  Our most valued endangered item in this town is its people – you are my neighbors and my friends. I am committed most of all – to you.

I have been a resident of Portola Valley for 33 years. I’ve raised my children here, going to almost all of our wonderful schools both private and public, and now watch my grandchildren delight in the same parks and open spaces. I’ve hiked and ridden over every inch of trail, and open space and met the most amazing people, from Alpine Road to Sand Hill, and all the way up to the top of Windy Hill. I’ve done my best to be active in the community, taking part in committees and leadership as I continued my practice in family medicine, providing care for many throughout the community. Portola Valley is not an “anachronism” but it is unique. We can make great contributions to the future of the planet by enhancing not destroying our environment.

It is my sincere hope that you will honor me with your support—and perhaps even be willing to forward this along to ten friends in Portola Valley who might want a bit about the issues in which I am most involved. I want to foster openness in dialog, a willingness to answer questions, hear points of view, and understand the community I wish to represent. I know and have worked with our current Town Council as a resident and as a committee representative and have attended many council meetings. I look forward to working with the current council members in the future. If you are interested and know others who would be interested in giving me feedback or in supporting me. Please forward this to your ten most likely friends and encourage them to do the same. I await their feedback and questions eagerly!

I appreciate you taking the time to read and consider me for Town Council and hope that you know that I’d love any support you can give!