In last week’s Letters to the Editor, Carol Gnegy of Oakland was disparaging to Judy Carbone and her campaign for County Commissioner. The writer seems to miss the point of citizen engagement as well as Judy’s campaign slogan of “the conversation is better with ALL PARTIES at the table”.
Carol Gnegy says that there are already smart women at the tables of several community advisory groups, an opinion with which undoubtedly Judy would agree. But what the letter writer misses is that the table Judy’s slogan refers to is only one specific table: the conference table in the meeting room of the County Commissioners. There has not been a woman sitting at THAT table as County Commissioner for almost 25 years. Since that time, there have been 18 seats in 6 elections for County Commissioners that have been filled by of the same political party, resulting in 25 years of discussions and solutions that were of the same political philosophy, and by the gender that represents currently only 49% of the County’s population.
When Judy says the conversation is better with ALL PARTIES at the table, she means the conversations at the County Commissioner’s table is better with representation of the voices of both genders and both major political parties. Certainly, it seems to me a clear message in a campaign for this particular elected seat.
An issue that may also be of interest to Carol Gnegy is that representation of ALL PARTIES is important for another reason. When the current Commissioners first took office, they announced their agreement to always vote unanimously on issues requiring a vote during the Commissioner’s public meetings. They stayed true to their word, and votes are almost always recorded as 3-0 or 0-3 and has been so throughout their four years in office. If one of the Commissioners has an opinion differing from the other two, he publicly votes against his own opinion, keeping any discourse out of the view of the public and out of public meeting minutes. This is counter to democracy since it silences any conflicting views in our highest local office. It in effect castrates the third commissioner who may have valuable input. And if only two commissioners are actually calling all the shots, we need a third for checks and balances.
That’s what bringing ALL PARTIES to the table can add to this Board of Commissioners…a vote that brings a clear check and balance to the Board and a voice that may have differing opinions that should be shared with the public to inform them of the complexities of decisions faced by the Commissioners. Vote for Judy, the only candidate who will bring diversity to the Board of Commissioners.