Monday, February 27, 2006

 

Meetings, meetings, meetings


Do you have a lot of meetings as mayor? This is a question I hear a lot. The answer is YES. First of all, I am available to meet with anyone who has a question or concern about the Town of Los Gatos. We have set aside late Wednesday afternoons for appointments at Town Hall, but there are other time slots available for phone calls or meetings if that doesn’t work. All of the members of the Town Council serve on a number of Council Subcommittees and are representatives to regional organizations. Each year, these assignments are changed or reconfirmed. So here’s part of what is keeping me busy in 2006. Regular Town Council meetings on the 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month … weekly mayor-town manager meetings … monthly meetings of the Conceptual Development Advisory Committee, the Santa Clara County Cities Association Board of Directors, the West Valley Sanitation District Board of Directors [see photo of the district headquarters in Campbell], and the West Valley Mayor-Manager Committee … quarterly meetings of the Cities Association Joint Policy Collaborative … as-needed meetings of the Council Policy Committee and the Civic Center Master Plan Committee. I am also one of two Council Liaisons to the Los Gatos Town to Town Katrina Consortium, and serve as an alternate to the Santa Clara Valley Water District Commission. If you’re curious about any of these groups, let me know and I’ll explain their purpose.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

 

Beyond the horizon

The front page article in today’s Mercury News talks about a vision for downtown San Jose that is being formed by a group of corporate, arts and community leaders. Some may read about their ideas and think they are too ambitious. Others may think that this is exactly what San Jose needs to move to the next level of city achievement. Either way, a discussion about future vision helps a community discuss its values and create a long-term strategy to meet the needs of its residents. This is exactly what I think needs to happen in Los Gatos. We need to develop a 2020 vision for our town that identifies our goals and priorities, and creates an action plan to make it happen. Just as it is difficult in our personal or business lives to set aside time to be thoughtful about the future, it is hard for a small municipality to break away from the demands of today to consider what is beyond the horizon. But I believe that is a major responsibility of leadership. What should the 2020 vision of Los Gatos look like? That’s not for just me to say. It should be the outcome of a community dialogue that taps into the hearts and minds of as many of our residents as we can persuade to participate. The 2010 General Plan Update will be a key part of this conversation, but we need to also look for other opportunities to engage the community in thinking about what lies ahead – and what we need to do to protect and enhance the quality of life we enjoy in Los Gatos.

Friday, February 24, 2006

 

What makes you smile?

One of the jobs of a mayor is to be its head cheerleader. That's not hard in a town like Los Gatos where there is so much to cheer about. As I drive around town, here are 5 things that made me smile: 1) the fish sculpture on top of the information kiosk outside the neighborhood center; 2) the view of the mountains from the deck outside of Border's Bookstore; 3) kids playing in the fountain of Plaza Park; 4) the inflatable snowman outside of the Fitness Clinic on Los Gatos Boulevard now dressed up in St. Patrick's garb; 5) the new Netflix headquarters building on Winchester Boulevard that will probably win some architectural design contest. What makes you smile in Los Gatos?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

 

Welcome new readers


Thanks to the nice article in this week's Los Gatos Weekly Times, I suspect there may be new people visiting this blog for the first time. Welcome! Please scroll down and read from the bottom up if you want to follow My Year As Mayor in chronological order. One correction to the article -- I'm “wary” of people wanting to talk about town issues on my blog, not “weary.” This is not the forum for policy discussions, but I am always happy to hear from residents by email, phone, or correspondence about upcoming Council agenda items or other Town concerns. This has been a typically-busy week for mayor duties. Lots of meetings including an exciting session at the Santa Clara University Markkula Center for Applied Ethics helping to brainstorm topics for a two-day ethics camp for public officials at SCU in June. Nice to see former LG mayor JOANNE BENJAMIN there in her new role as Executive Director of the Santa Clara County Cities Association. I also had a good time yesterday as the guest speaker at Los Gatos Morning Rotary. I spoke to the Noontime Rotary group in January. Both clubs are incredibly active in their support of Los Gatos. Here's a photo of the morning group. How many people do you recognize? Thank you to Program Chair JULIE DINAPOLI for the invitation and President DARRELL MONDA for the warm welcome.

Monday, February 20, 2006

 

Los Gatos helps Pascagoula, MS





Last fall a group of Los Gatos residents led by LEE NEISH, JOE VAROZZA and DAVE HENDERSON came to the Town to suggest that we begin a Town to Town Katrina Consortium to help one of the communities devastated by Hurricane Katrina recover and rebuild. The Town Council agreed and Pascagoula, Mississippi was selected. It is a city about the same size as Los Gatos, located on the Gulf Coast close to the Alabama border. I had the opportunity to visit there in December. About 90% of the city's homes were damaged, many severely. Even 100 days after the hurricane most businesses, parks and the library were still closed. Everywhere were piles of debris and most homes had a trailer parked in the front yard, temporary housing provided by FEMA while houses are repaired and rebuilt. It is a slow process. In November, a group from Los Gatos United Methodist Church went to Pascagoula to provide hands-on construction help. Another group of 30 to 50 is going in April, led by TOM CARSON, and there is room for more volunteers. For information, visit the blog http://losgatoskatrina.blogspot.com.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

 

More than business

Last night was the monthly Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce Mixer, and it was a welcome respite after four hours of meetings with Town staff on a variety of matters. I continue to be impressed with the way Executive Director RONNE NASSI and President PATTI RICE have built a vibrant, growing organization. I think there were close to 100 people at the mixer, hosted by the always-popular Viva! Restaurant on Los Gatos Blvd. I also like the way that community organizations are encouraged to get involved. So, not only did I learn what's going on with businesses in Town, I picked up new information about the happenings of Los Gatos Bicycle Racing Club and the Los Gatos Business & Professional Women's club. It's another example of the small town focus that keeps Los Gatos special. For more information on the Chamber check out its website at www.losgatosweb.com.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

 

In the pink


Is it my birthday? No, that was in January before I had a blog, but I woke up that morning to find a flock of flamingos on my front lawn. The flocking was a birthday greeting from a friend [who will remain anonymous so all of his other friends don't get jealous]. The Los Gatos High School Marching Band will deliver and set up this colorful display in the stealth of night, and then quietly take them away 48 hours later. It's a great way to celebrate a special occasion [like Valentine's Day which is probably why this is on my mind] and support a worthy community group.

Monday, February 13, 2006

 

LG loves books and ideas

Silicon Valley Reads came to Los Gatos on Friday. This is the program [which I coordinate in my other non-mayor life as a public relations consultant] that asks everyone in Santa Clara County to read the same book, at the same time, and talk about its themes with family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. The Friends of the Los Gatos Library hosted Louise Steinman, author of The Souvenir: A Daughter Discovers Her Father's War. VIRGINIA O'REILLY is program chair of the Friends group and she did a great job in organizing the event and introducing the speaker. About 50 people opted to come to the Town Council Chamber rather than watch the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics -- a tribute to this community's interest in literacy and the exchange of ideas. People sometimes think that books and the library are on their way out because of the Internet. Not true!! The number of registered borrowers at the Los Gatos Public Library has tripled in the past 10 years and circulation is up 43%. What would you expect from the community where John Steinbeck got his start? [He wrote Grapes of Wrath while living here in 1938].

Monday, February 06, 2006

 

Most fun day so far


I'm not even 100 days into my year as mayor and already it's hard to pick the day that has been most enjoyable. The tree lighting ceremony at The Terraces in December and the tree lighting ceremony at Plaza Park were a joy. Watching the four members of the Los Gatos Youth Commission -- REETA BANERJEE, FOREST GALLIEN, JORDAN KAHLER, JACQUELINE KEMP -- who attended the National League of Cities conference in Charlotte, North Carolina made me proud of them and confident about the future of our community. It was fun to be in the lead car in the annual Children's Holiday Parade, but it was also enjoyable and memorable to be there for the opening of the new dog park. [As you may have read in the Weekly, it had to close for a few weeks so the County could repair the turf that got torn up by too much use during those soggy rain days we had earlier this winter.] Here's my husband, Michael Cronk, and our Samuel at the dog park event. Samuel will be 15 years old this month.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

 

Why a blog?

When I attended the National League of Cities conference in December, a couple of the workshops I attended talked about how to use blogs to increase public dialogue and share information about municipal government. I was intrigued with the idea, but had to wait until I upgraded my computer before I could launch a blog. The goal for this online diary is to share with readers the experience of serving as Mayor of the Town of Los Gatos. THIS IS NOT A FORUM FOR DISCUSSING ISSUES. Why? Because of the Brown Act and our quasi-judicial role as Council members, it is important that we are careful about when and how we gather input about upcoming agenda items.

I am happy to talk with anyone about any subject matter, but it needs to be done in one-on-one conversations. So call me at 354-1242 or send me an email at dmcnutt@losgatosca.gov if you've got something on your mind.

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