2016 Statement in the Kensington Outlook
I am running to restore trust in the KPPCSD board and to address Kensington’s long-term governance and fiscal challenges. I moved to Kensington in 2008 because it is a great place to raise a family: vibrant local businesses, wonderful walking trails and a top-rated elementary school, which my two daughters attend.
I faithfully began reading the Outlook to keep up on local issues and was increasingly dismayed by the accounts of acrimonious Board meetings. In 2010 I voted for Measure G, the special permanent tax proposed by the Board to support police services and stabilize the finances of the district.
In 2014, I began to pay closer attention to the KPPCSD Board’s management of budget and services. That year, the Board proposed a new contract with the police that offered a salary increase to subsidize the employee contributions toward benefits. A thorough financial analysis by the Kensington Property Owners Association (KPOA) showed the terms of the contract weren’t sustainable with Kensington’s projected revenues.
I joined the Board of the KPOA and am proud of the role its membership played in galvanizing the community to convince the KPPCSD Board to start over and renegotiate. As a result of that renegotiation, police officers, for the first time, are contributing a small amount toward their health and retirement benefits.
Then there was Reno-gate in which a Kensington police officer lost possession of his gun, badge and handcuffs to an illegal prostitute (likely a victim of sex trafficking). The incident only came to light after an investigative reporter with the Contra Costa Times wrote about it. Disciplinary action by the Chief of Police, which should have been immediate, only came after the story broke—9 months after the fact.
Like everyone else, I was embarrassed for our community. But more importantly, it exposed a pattern of failed Board oversight stemming from an uncritical eye toward police services. If there was a silver lining, it was the manner in which the community came together and demanded change. By a 4-1 vote, the Board took decisive action and did not renew the Chief’s contract.
The community insisted that the Board examine ways to change how the KPPCSD operates. An ad hoc committee was formed to present the Board with fundamental policy choices on how we manage police services and improve Kensington's governance structure.
If elected I will work to rebuild trust and work constructively with board members and residents to minimize fiscal and legal risk. I will address the inherent conflict of interest in having a combined Chief of Police and General Manager. It’s also important that we obtain bids for contracting police services so the community can evaluate this option.
For twenty-five years I have been shaping public policy, leading advocacy efforts and developing strategic priorities for nonprofits, foundations and progressive businesses. I have an ability to foster collaboration and rally others in a common endeavor. I thrive on empowering people by connecting them to each other and to the information they need to create change.
Kensington is a community of friends and neighbors who look out for one another. It is this caring spirit that makes it one of the safest and most desirable towns in the Bay Area and the state. We have deeply held shared values. We should build on these to forge permanent consensus-based solutions, .I know there are many residents who are ready for change, and I am ready to give my time, talents and enthusiasm to serve our community.
I respectfully ask for your thoughtful consideration of my candidacy and for your vote on November 8th.