Seven candidates are running for three seats on the Los Altos City Council in the Nov. 3 election. A virtual forum for council candidates is scheduled 7-9 p.m. Sept. 30. In advance of the forum, organizers have prepared questions for the candidates.
Following is the second in a series of questions, with candidates answering one question in each issue of the Town Crier leading up to the election.
The forum is co-sponsored by the local chapter of the American Association of University Women, the Center for Age-Friendly Excellence, GreenTown Los Altos, Los Altos Community Foundation, Los Altos Forward, the Los Altos Town Crier and the Los Altos Women’s Caucus.
Question: What is the council doing to ensure that older adults are listened to and acknowledged, in a way that meets the needs of older adults and to ensure they are a part of the city’s decision-making process?
• Kuljeet Kalkat: Prioritizing and involving older citizens is the duty of the council. Let’s start and end council meetings sooner to allow more participation. Let’s support the work plan of the Senior Commission, including hotlines, rideshare plans, fitness and expanded use of the community centers by seniors.
• Sally Meadows: Through Senior Connection, technical support is available for participation in council meetings (for example, on Zoom). The city manager’s weekly emails publicize meetings. The Senior Commission is working to keep our World Health Organization “Age-Friendly City” status. The council should maintain the current high level of services so that older adults remain full partners in community decisions.
• Alex Rubashevsky: Older-adult participation is currently low, and my belief is that this stems from a lack of accessibility to information. We need to actively notify voters of issues that are being discussed and voted on either via email or postcards. Informed voters make better decisions.
• Scott Spielman: The council has made attempts to communicate with seniors, but we can do more to ensure seniors have input into decisions the council makes. Seniors are 33% of our population. I would create surveys directed to seniors and offer town halls dedicated to seniors and quarterly “office hours” at the Senior Center.
• Jonathan Weinberg: I would seek input from our entire senior community, including the Senior Commission, the Adult 50+ Program, Club 55 and Senior Center members to ensure we provide services – programs, education, events, transportation and resources – seniors need, enabling them to be an active and healthy part of our community.
• Terri Couture: Los Altos city staff has coordinated with the Senior Commission to compile 1,000 senior contacts. The council will leverage those contacts to increase the base and communicate and coordinate with them. Council members and Los Altos and Los Altos Hills city staff are promoting programs, services and resources for seniors.
• Lynette Lee Eng: I spearheaded the Senior Committee, which evolved into the Senior Commission. I started the Senior Center at Grant Park. For more than six years, I have been volunteering in person at the center and communicating through emails and phone calls to seniors to assure their voices are heard and respected.