Call us optimistic (or Pollyanna), but we expect 2018 to go well for the Los Altos City Council. There are two major items ahead that are expected to come to fruition: A plan for rebuilding the Hillview Community Center and final approval of a downtown visioning document that will guide future development for years to come. This year has laid the groundwork for both approvals to happen.
These could be considered monumental achievements as far as Los Altos goes. People have been talking about a Hillview rebuild for 20 or more years, and the debate over downtown growth has been going on possibly even longer.
But the way some people talk, you would think the city is dysfunctional and corrupt. New Los Altos Mayor Jean Mordo referenced this negativity during last week’s ceremonial council meeting that saw the mayoral changing of the guard from Mary Prochnow to Mordo.
“I would like to encourage everyone to refrain from assuming the worst,” Mordo said last week. “Do not automatically assume that the council or staff are lying, are corrupt or are unfair. Let us ... try to explore the reason why we arrive at different conclusions. Let us make sure we are working from the same facts.”
Mordo was referring to recent vocal resident protests over whom would get what space at the rebuilt Hillview center. Most controversial is the prospect of the Children’s Corner preschool occupying space at the new center.
Unfortunately, some have focused on personalities. The day prior to last week’s meeting, former Mayor David Casas emailed councilmembers urging them not to appoint Mordo mayor. Casas called Mordo a bully and disrespectful to women. Mordo’s fellow councilmembers, all women, unanimously appointed him mayor at the Dec. 5 meeting. (Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins was absent.) Then he had to answer to a newspaper report that he “disparaged” new Vice Mayor Lynette Lee Eng when, in fact, he intended no such thing.
Such incidents pointed to exactly what Mordo was talking about in his mayoral speech: Misunderstandings and a focus on the negative overshadowing good and, yes, honest, stewardship of the city on the cusp of some significant achievements.
Mordo’s not perfect, but he’s honest, direct and hardworking. We expect him to represent Los Altos well. Here’s to a good year in 2018.