One of the many benefits of our great democracy is our right to question authority. And we appreciate those who take advantage of this right to air concerns with the purpose of exposing wrongdoing. We aim to do so ourselves.
But at what point does valid criticism become something else? When do questions turn into unfounded accusations?
We find the current vitriol aimed at Los Altos City Manager Chris Jordan and other city staffers and commission members baffling and out of line.
We’re entering into the muddy realm of personnel matters, where virtually nothing is on the record and speculation reigns. But as far as we can tell, at least two Los Altos City Council members are clearly not pleased with Jordan. Some observers say there is a concerted effort underway to fire him.
For what? We’re not clear. We’ve heard things like, “He doesn’t care what the residents think.” Another claims Jordan is insubordinate because he doesn’t follow Mayor Lynette Lee Eng’s requests for placing items on meeting agendas.
Based on our interactions with Jordan, we have found him to be accessible, competent and experienced. Nevertheless, some critics are harsh. From a recent letter writer: “I can’t think of one thing he and his team have proposed that improves our quality of life here in Los Altos.”
He did, under council direction, lead implementation of a new community center, set to break ground Tuesday.
Where is the proof of wrongdoing? Instead of seeking answers to questions, some engage in public grandstanding and resort to fiction to support their cause. Jordan received criticism for allegedly defying a council 4-1 vote to move meetings back to the council chambers – except that there was no 4-1 vote.
If we get credible info that reveals Jordan is a poor manager, we will join the chorus of criticism. In the meantime, we agree with the five former mayors who voiced concerns last week about the current state of city affairs, characterized by misinformation and dysfunction.
Let’s get some facts and context when assessing Jordan’s – and the city’s – work. While we’re at it, let’s exercise civility.