Jim’s 2012 Study Issue Survey – Results and Some Thoughts

The results are in for this year’s Study Issue Survey, and I’ve typed up a report, which you can read here.  Thank you to everyone who responded.  The response this year was huge compared to last year.  I’ll add that every year, you folks surprise me in at least one way with your specific responses, and this year was no exception.  I don’t agree with all of the responses, I strongly agree with some of them, and the responses will probably change my votes on a couple of issues.  We’ll see.

I do want to vent a bit on a related topic.  Whenever I do this survey, I frequently get responses along the lines of “it’s great that you’re doing this”, or “council should do more stuff like this” or whatever.  And that’s great, and I appreciate it.  But it’s really unfair to my colleagues.

Beyond the regular meetings, Council has a lot of things it has to do – far more than you usually see.  The workload is huge, and we divvy up the responsibilities as much as we can between the seven of us.  Obviously, I like doing the aggressive resident outreach – getting out into the community, talking with people, doing the email and web thing, and so on.  Vice Mayor Whittum clearly likes doing that sort of thing too (and he’s better at tweeting than I am, definitely).  Others take on other roles.  Mayor Spitaleri and Councilmember Moylan particularly like doing governmental outreach – dealing with folks in Sacramento or Washington to get Sunnyvale what we need.  That’s important stuff, and it requires them to spend a lot of work vacation time and time away from families to do it.  But you don’t get to see it happen.

So I’ve taken a role that doesn’t require spending any work vacation time, and which has huge visibility to residents, with little personal cost.  At the same time, other colleagues sacrifice vacation time and family time to do something that Sunnyvale needs but residents don’t see, and what they get in return is a certain amount of grief for not doing the things that Dave and I do.  That’s simply not fair.  What they do matters a lot.  On the one trip to Washington that I went on, we convinced the federal government to give us $1.14 million for LED street light replacement.  That’s a huge win for us, and that’s the kind of thing that other councilmembers are doing without you seeing it.

When you see a councilmember doing something you appreciate, don’t think of that as a great job by that councilmember.  Please think of it as a win for our Council.  When others go to Washington, they tell me what they’ve done.  When I hold a town hall, I tell them what I’ve heard.  And the whole Council benefits from what each of us does.  That’s the way it’s supposed to work.  We’re very much a team, and we win or fail as a team.

And we should get credit as a team.

OK, end venting.  Please resume your lives.

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