New Planning COWmissioner

November 24, 2008

The October 14th COWncil meeting had a very limited agenda and didn’t last very long. Even the COWncil cracked jokes about how sparse the agenda was at this meeting. You can watch it here on Mootube.

However, important business was conducted. The COWncil appointed a new Planning Commissioner for District 1 to replace Sara Jorgensen. We mentioned the open position in an earlier article here.

There were two candidates: Jennifer Gonzalez, a retired elementary school teacher and 17-year Woodside resident and Daniel Yost, a Silicon Valley attorney and resident of five years.

The COWncil – and especially COWncilmembers Hodges, Tanner, and Gordon grilled both candidates on their experience, qualifications, and especially their philosophies and judgment. Jennifer Gonzalez stated while she did not have any experience in planning, she had time And willingness to learn.

The COWncil interviewed Daniel Yost next and asked him similar questions, and asked him what his interest and qualifications for the position were. He said he was attracted to Woodside by its rural and scenic character, and had visited the public safety meetings, which he thinks were really well run. He had concerns and experience with conservation issues with the Folger Stable as well as serving as a pro bono attorney for the Friends of Huddart and Wunderlich Parks.

The interesting part came at the end, when a former Council member stood up and spoke on behalf of Jennifer Gonzalez. She stated that while both candidates were good, she suggested getting Mr. Yost involved on a more “strategic level.” She said that Gonzalez had been a member of the community for seventeen years and was always there and always pitching in, and that she would bring a strong Glens viewpoint to the Planning Commission – “but also Woodside as a whole.” Although the entire COWncil agreed with her on how good a candidate Gonzalez was, every single one of them voted for Yost. It seemed to come down to Daniel Yost’s more extensive ‘official’ Woodside involvement, despite his shorter time in the COWmunity, as well as his law degree and practice. Dave Burow stated it would be helpful to have a ‘legal beagle’ on the Planning Commission, and Peter Mason noted that the review of the Town’s General Plan would be coming up soon, as well as review of ordinances.

COWncilman Mason said, [there’s] “lots of people who like figuring out gaps…” in the way the Plan and the ordinances are written, and COWncilwoman Hodges added in, “and [are] litigious!” The COWncil seemed to hope that having an attorney on the Planning Commission would help avoid some of those problems. Although, of course, the Town retains legal counsel, who is present at all their meetings.

Most of the members of the COWncil did encourage Mrs. Gonzalez to try for some other post. We also want to encourage her and hopefully we will see her name again for another commission.

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