The November elections are less than a month away, and the uneasiness of having to make a decision is encouraging my procrastination. This uneasiness stems from knowing many of the folks competing for the same position, as either the Mayor or a Council Member for the City of Milpitas. Plus, choosing friends for a role is never easy. However, this is important enough that I can’t avoid it either…
Before I go on, let me acknowledge and thank the numerous candidates willing to run. A lot of these folks have a love for the city and a strong desire to help improve the place we call home. You all are much braver than I. It’s not always a fun job, and there will always be some people who don’t agree, don’t understand, or just don’t listen. So, thank you for throwing your hat in the ring.
Ok, let’s get to the matter at hand…
I would first put it out there, and I believe most Milpitians would agree, that these are among the top issues in Milpitas: Traffic, Housing Growth, Affordable Housing, the Landfill, and perhaps the Garbage/Recycling challenge or how expensive our Water is. Wow, a long list of complex challenges for our city.
So, if we really want these challenges to be solved, we need to elect capable leaders who have skills and talents that allow them to be successful at solving them. Here’s my take on the desirable characteristics of these leaders:
The Mayor and Council members must be collaborative. Most of these challenges have at least one other agency involved — and even more, in some cases. That means that not everyone will get their way. So our leaders must be willing and able to find compromises that benefit everyone.
The Mayor and Council members must be able to align their votes. We need three of the five members to agree on solutions that are for the best for all of Milpitas. That means that sometimes someone has to agree to disagree, so they can all move together as a team for Milpitas. We, as voters, need to elect officials who are capable of doing this, and willing to.
The Mayor and Council members must be strong communicators. They must be able to let the other agencies know the needs of Milpitas residents, as well as be able to let the citizens know the constraints in solving these issues. Good communicators know how to listen, both to the outside agencies and to all Milpitians. We have some residents with great ideas, so our leaders need to understand and encourage these new ideas to find effective solutions. That means our leaders need to constantly be out in the community, letting folks know where we are in solving these issues.
The Mayor and Council members need to have experience in working on these issues. The main reason for this criteria is that in order for us to make good progress, we need the folks we’ve voted in to be familiar with the challenges and the current limitations to solving them. If we let in folks who are unfamiliar and/or inexperienced, we’ll need to spend time bringing them up to speed before they can be effective team members.
They must also be accountable and transparent. Doing what they say, and even showing how they did it, will instill trust in the people that they serve. It is this characteristic that our leaders must have and work on daily, so that the people will be willing to follow them. And, if mistakes are made, strong leaders acknowledge the mistake, talk about what was learned and what needed to change, and then move on.
So, there you have it. That’s my criteria for selecting a set of strong leaders to solve our city’s challenges. Applying this set of criteria has helped me to pick (my) clear winners, and relieved my stress and uneasiness around choosing one friend over the other. Whether you use this set of criteria or another, remember to vote and choose leaders for the good of Milpitas.
If we all do this, we will help Milpitas to become a city that we can all be proud of.