Town Hall Has Improved; We're Halfway to Where We Need to Be
Yes, we know we've been very quiet since the last election, in large part because the Town Council hasn't exhibited the level and frequency of egregious behavior they did prior to the '18 election cycle.
We've certainly disagreed with some recent decisions, not the least of which included an approval of as much as 15% pay raises for management employees (including 10% and 12% for very recent management hires). Similarly so for allowing a delayed staff report forecasting the financial impacts resulting from COVID shutdowns and any recommended efforts to effectively mitigate them (which were ultimately meaningless). That passive philosophy resulted in a $400k unfavorable swing to town finances.
And there also was that "coup" at the beginning of this year when Mayor Korpus ignored Moraga's historical precedent and process for electing Mayors and Vice Mayors (based on the number of votes candidates receive during elections) to attempt to elbow out Councilmember McClure from the Vice Mayor role, and subsequently choosing not to appoint Vice Mayor McClure to the Town's Finance Committee, despite his having the most extensive financial background on the council as a CFO.
Nonetheless, we haven't been subjected to the levels of dishonesty and obfuscation we suffered previously.
Thankfully, the present council has three members (its newest: McClure, Sos, Woehleke) who have demonstrated more fiscal responsibility than their predecessors and who have taken a more critical look at the completeness of staff reports, alternative approaches, spending, and actual performance. The three also have shown a far greater willingness to listen to, consider, and act upon resident input and feedback than did members of the prior council (Jeannette Fritzky being the sole exception).
Notably, McClure and Woehleke in particular haven't been afraid to vote "no" on budgets or other items that contained omissions or lacked assurances the public's interests would be safeguarded through prudent project and financial management, despite being pressured in meetings to abandon their concerns about clarity, transparency, and financial responsibility in favor of expedience. Those two admirably have lived up to their campaign promises.
This Election Is Important - We Need to Continue to Move Further Toward Honest and Judicious Governance
Our perspective is that with the current election, we find ourselves on the cusp of having a consistent majority of council members who favor fiscal responsibility, focusing on resident interests and actual needs, and exercising critical thinking and inquiry as it relates to town operations and spending.
That we are on the front end of a recession makes this even more imperative.
Five candidates are running for three seats. They are:
Renata Sos (incumbent)
We plan to determine to what extent we'll be endorsing or recommending individuals once we've completed our assessments of each. We're very familiar with two of the candidates: Sos, who is an incumbent; and Onoda, who was on the council from '14-'18 and served as Mayor and Vice Mayor during her last two years, a tenure well-chronicled here on our website.
Stay tuned for more, and if you have any specific thoughts or feedback on any of the candidates, please drop us a note!
And as always, please forward or share this information so we can continue working towards ensuring Moraga is SMART.