Hodges Holiday

December 19, 2008

Some of you may remember that we criticized the COWncil for its cavalier attitude towards the annual League of California Cities conference. The annual Conference is an opportunity for all California cities to come together and vote on issues affecting them, as well as (probably the most important part of the event) to network and learn about how other cities are addressing issues of concern. The conference features a panoply of seminars where cities learn from the experiences of others. The conference kicked off September 24th in Long Beach, California.

For a while it looked as if no one at our COWncil was interested at all – which is pretty irresponsible in our book. Finally, at the September 9th COWncil meeting, Carol Anne Hodges volunteered to go. As we wrote then, “COWncilwoman Hodges did say that she had looked at the agenda and felt that there was “nothing of great import to Woodside” going on. We just cannot imagine with budget shortfalls looming for all that there were not seminars about how cities can better manage their fiscal affairs. Governor SCHWARZENEGGER spoke to the conference about the state budget crisis. Oh well.

At a recent COWncil meeting, COWncilwoman Hodges reported back and the news wasn’t encouraging for those of us who would like to see Woodside’s leadership reach out and make contacts with other Towns and learn about their best practices. As you can see in the video, it doesn’t appear that COWncil member Hodges accomplished much Town business while at the conference. While she found most of the conference “very stimulating” – especially keynote speaker Doris Kearns Goodwin – our Town’s representative didn’t stay around to vote on an important issue of governance of the group; a resolution permitting members of the Black and Latino Caucuses to be on the governing board.

The COWncil member did report on a session about the Rich Fire and she brought back some pamphlets. She mentioned that the speakers described all the bases that have to be covered to provide in evacuating residents pets and large animals. But she did not seem to bring back any ideas about what Woodside would need to do under such circumstances and what steps should be taken to prepare for such an eventuality. Moreover, she wasn’t even aware that the Conference produces an official report that is sent to participants.

COWncil member Hodges said that she had great fun and met “lots and lots of people.” She liked what little she saw of Long Beach. So we are glad she had a nice holiday.

Next year’s conference is in San Jose. We hope there will be a more meaningful participation.

10 Comments on “Hodges Holiday

  1. Anonymous

    If you think attending the League of California Cities Meeting in beautiful Long Beach, California is some sort of vacation, then I suggest you attend and see for yourself. Some “holiday!” Council Member Hodges should be thanked for taking the time and effort to attend this meeting on our town’s behalf, not ridiculed as you have chosen to do.

    A fact that you refuse to face: Woodside may, in fact, be the in the best financial condition of any city in our state. Certainly better run and far less drama than Atherton, Menlo Park or Palo Alto!

    Despite our problems – and we have our fair share – you should give credit where credit is due. But then you wouldn’t have a reason for this website, would you?

    Get a life.

  2. Anonymous

    “better run and far less drama than Atherton, Menlo Park or Palo Alto” Oh really……well I haven’t heard (or herd) about those cities paying out hush money to the tune of $40,000!!

  3. Anonymous

    Really? Either you’re new to the area or just terribly misinformed.

    If not, then you’ve conveniently forgotten about Atherton’s building permit scandal (that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars) or their building inspection debacle. Or maybe you’ve forgotten that their finance director was fired for misfeasons and is now suing the city for a few hundred thousand dollars.

    Menlo Park’s council has secret meetings, unpublished minutes, election funding scandals and back room deals.

    I’ll take quiet Woodside and our budget surplus anytime!

  4. Anonymous

    Anytime the public’s money is spent (including a business trip) it is and should be open for discourse.
    We were surprised COW did not report on Carroll Ann’s arrest for DUI, classy move.


  5. Anonymous

    “Either you’re new to the area or just terribly misinformed” Charming, however at the risk of sounding boorish I must suggest the same about you. My family and a number of our friends not only agree with much of what is written on this site we have experienced it. We were more than pleased to see this site start up and commend the effort of those whom contribute to it. While I can not speak for the other blogger, I would suggest that they did not dispute that other cities had problems but that Woodside was not the innocent hamlet you suggest. All communities have their fair share of problems, ignoring them does not make them go away.

  6. Anonymous

    You’re truly clueless if you think a $40k settlement to get a release from a terminated employee is outrageous. If there were a lawsuit, the first month’s legal expenses would cost that much alone – and that assumes there wouldn’t be a subsequent settlement anyway.

    And how revealing that you completely ignore the far costlier – (by orders of magnitude!) debacles in our neighboring towns that were noted below. We’ve had NOTHING in Woodside to rival those scandals that you ignore.

    You just cannot bring yourself to give credit where it’s due. At a time when every city, county and state government is struggling, the undeniable financial truth is that Woodside is managed extraordinarily well.

    Just admit it. The truth will set you free.

  7. Anonymous

    Yes – we are all clueless because we have not been told what happened. It seems clear that Hope was let go. Hope, who had been treated with kid gloves and protected by Susan George and the Council while she treated many unfairly was suddenly fired? Why? She was an at will employee so what allegations did she make and against whom for wrongful termination. Or is it that she actually quit alleging that someone harassed her and the payoff is a cover up? It is not the amount of money to settle a lawsuit that offends me. What bothers me is the why. Surely, our Council is not using “settlement of litigation” to just give money to a favored employee who decided she wanted to move on. I sure hope that the town does not throw even small amounts of money at every employee who quits and without any basis demands a settlement. Yes, the truth – that is what I for one want.

  8. Anonymous

    Suggest you read more than the Almanac, perhaps even this blog, before suggesting others are clueless.
    1. At least two different outside “reviews” of the building department costing in excess of $140,000, both saying the same thing and none of it implemented.
    2. Susan George acknowledging that staff was being retaliatory, holding private meetings yet never reporting back and ignoring the problem (unless this is why Hope left?).
    3. Members of Council suggesting that the town act illegally AND use the Almanac (what does that suggest to you?) to help intimidate people in regards to accepting illegally written parking tickets.
    4. A lawsuit regarding public records which cost the town in excess of $100,000 when the town knew all along they were wrong (based on interviews Susan George gave the year before in the Almanac regarding public records).
    5. Perhaps millions in deposit accounts not being rightfully returned to Woodsiders.
    6. Confirmed illegal application of planning laws for certain people in Woodside.
    While I agree that other towns need work it is foolish to deny that so does our own.

  9. Anonymous

    This website is usually very quick to criticize the management of our town and reluctant to ever give them credit.

    Those critics may wish to note that this week’s news included reports of enormous (multi-million dollar) budget shortfalls in Portola Valley, Atherton, Menlo Park and Palo Alto. They’ve overspent wildly and continue to lose business tax revenues at alarming rates. These city governments are responding by proposing major cutbacks in services.

    Woodside’s financial strength and balanced budget stands in stark contrast to our neighboring cities. Our town’s management deserves major kudos!

    It would be nice if the local cows could show a glimmer of appreciation….

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