Barack Obama used the term “rough agreement” in his recent speech at the University of Illinois. This term struck me because it seems that as a community we lack rough agreement about what it means to care about our town. I love living in Saint Helena, and I love that other people want to come and enjoy this special place. I don’t, however, love how our community responds to people with differing opinions from their own. These attitudes keep good people from wanting to participate in local government.
I wanted the Ladera tasting room on Adams Street to be approved, and I wanted to see the student dorms built at the CIA. Some people in our community shared my perspective, and others did not. Regardless of your position on these topics, could we please get a rough agreement that both people can come from a place of caring about our town? We don’t all want the same things, but we all want to feel represented.
I’m supporting Alan Galbraith for mayor because the combination of Alan and Geoff is perfectly imperfect. Alan and Geoff both bring strengths and weaknesses to our council. A vote for Alan means Geoff continues to be a contributing member on the council, and a vote for Geoff means Alan, whose perspective many appreciate and value, would be lost -- to be filled by a yet-to-be-known person.
In my attempt to understand the current political climate in town, I am left wondering why we have a mayor. Having Mark Prestwich as a competent city manager working alongside five independent voices on the council, the position of mayor only seems to serve as a catch-all for blame or praise.
Every council member has one vote. If we could do away with alliances on the council we will make room to hear everyone's perspective and we may just reach a rough agreement that we all care about our town, even if we aren't in agreement on every issue.
Grateful to be living in St. Helena