I believe in:
Putting Others First
In a "Me First" culture, I believe putting other's needs before ones own. In part, this comes from having three younger sisters, so much as I wanted to be "the boss" and get my own way, I learned at a very young age, that often it is better to let others know what they want and serve their needs first. So I took time out from my career to take my mother on trips when she was widowed and support my husband when he had a heart attack at a relatively young age. This is why I enjoy volunteering for the town - to help others who live here enjoy life as much as I have done here.
As a community of mainly privileged people, we have to think about who we can help - we have so many great initiatives born in Portola Valley - maybe you'll choose to finance penniless entrepreneurs, feed starving families or educate illiterate children. Who can we hire? Who can we finance? Who can we mentor? Who can we donate to? It's all very well having lectures and protests, to support the disadvantaged, but we need to work on actions that really make a difference and life people up physically, psychologically and environmentally.
I am grateful for our peaceful environment, beautiful scenery and welcoming homes. I believe a culture where gratitude replaces grumbling helps make life less stressful. See seven benefits of gratitude from Forbes:
Stewardship of resources
The council has to help the town staff use our resources wisely. We need to ensure that the town staff headcount can provide resources commensurate with our ability to raise revenues. Currently, the town has recently benefitted from the refurbishment of the Alpine Inn which contributes sales tax, as well as payments for permits due to a healthy Silicon Valley economy and newcomers who pay higher property taxes than longtime residents. Another cost is consultants and we need to make sure we have fair bidding processes that encourage minority-led firms to work with the town.
Freedom of Religion
Portola Valley's residents embrace many different religions and I believe in letting each person practice their own faith. We have laws in the US that separate religion and government which I respect and will honor, even though I observe that faith has a huge role to play in how a country operates. I believe a person's actions, decisions and values, are very often inspired by their religion.
Laws and policies restricting religious freedom are increasing worldwide. We must ensure religious groups are not harassed or favored. See a Pew Research Report on religious restrictions worldwide from 2007 to 2017.
As one brought up with Christian beliefs, I can bridge the wide cultural divides between fundamentalists and atheists, as well as between liberals and conservatives and between scientists and anti-scientists. I belong to Christ Church Portola Valley and am happy that we can share our car park with the town for large events, I also hope we can use our premises for emergencies, as we did recently when we sheltered 4 homeless families for two weeks in the church hall.
I believe that religions have a right to promote their product just like businesses, but if there are rules against discussing or promoting religious topics in social groups, I'll respect them.
The Brown Act ensures that town committee and town council discussions are public. I support this transparency. I also hope that new computer systems will help citizens find data and information from the town easily.
Portola Valley, as far as I know, is not "twinned" with any other towns. I'd like us to explore cultural connections to other towns. Portola Valley Presbyterian Church hosted a French concert from a town twinned with Palo Alto. Palo Alto YMCA twinned with a YMCA in Kerala, India. I believe there can be rich educational and artistic collaborations if we choose a town or village to be our twin.
Debating: Is It Still Fashionable?
Much has been written about the disappearance of the art of debate. See:
In high school, I formed our Junior Debating Society and found debates a good way to air differences between classmates. I attended Cambridge Union, the oldest debating society in the world as a student. I would like to bring a spirit of debate to our town, with representatives on either side of an issue preparing facts and figures about options. I also like Scenario Planning where a group presents options that people can vote on. The Alpine Corridor project used alternative simulations to great effect at their open meetings. I hope going forward the town can host public meetings where residents can debate issues, think through them carefully and then come to resolution. Not everyone will agree all the time, but we can respect those we differ with and agree to disagree.
Angela Hey is a candidate for Portola Valley Town Council. She is an experienced technology marketing consultant who serves nonprofits, as a volunteer.