In my six years living in Los Altos, no other election has caused as much of a fuss in the community as last month’s did.
Between city council candidates and Measure C, one thing is certain: Our city ironically resembles the division seen in national politics. And I don’t mean right along party lines. Residents are overwhelmingly liberal, but when it comes to deciding on downtown growth and citywide development, there is no clear majority.
The reason why I did not support Measure C was because I viewed it as a last-ditch effort to delay the inevitable. Sooner or later, residents will have to decide if they want more affordable housing and to be more inclusive of newcomers. Sooner or later, we have to choose whether we should embrace everything this 21st century has to offer.
I’m so thankful that Measure C did not pass. What this signals for me personally is hope – hope that this city is slowly beginning to work harder toward making this community more accepting of all kinds of people. I will concede, however, that the intent of the measure was commendable and seems to come from a good place.
Measure C’s failure keeps the decisions on development with the council, which answers to the citizens. We should value those we vote for and hold them accountable. If they make the wrong decision, it is our fault for not pressing those council members consistently, both through the press and by talking to our representatives.
As for the city council race, this new council seems poised for progress and constructive discussions that can lead us as a city. I’ve had the chance to talk at length with both Neysa Fligor and Anita Enander, and though I may disagree with some of their policy positions, their passion and dedication to Los Altos are undeniable. They both conveyed to me – as part of the editorial board of The Talon, the Los Altos High School newspaper – that they, more so than the other candidates, were willing to really fight for common ground and compromise, something this city needs.
Local politics are significantly more important than national politics in shaping our daily lives. Yes, we’re drawn to the spectacle of presidential and U.S. Senate races, and we should be, but when it comes down to it, our city, county and state district races are fundamental to ensuring our community can run the way we want.
I hope this election, in the political circumstances we’re in, can help remind us that the right to vote should never be ignored.
Noah Tesfaye is a senior at Los Altos High and a Town Crier intern.