An Open Letter to Sunnyvale Mayor Anthony Spitaleri
Dear Mr. Mayor:
Yesterday’s mail brought a letter from you promoting your selection of candidates in the upcoming election. In it you relate how you and your family first settled in Sunnyvale some 47 years ago, at a time when you “couldn’t have asked for a better place to raise a family than in a city which cares about its citizens…” You then describe how during your service to the city you have “emphasized the importance of collaboration and partnership between Community, Business, and Government…” You add: “Sunnyvale must continue… with a collaborative and solution-oriented mind set.” (The italics are mine.)
Mr. Mayor, I remember those days of long ago… and even not so long ago. As a 54-year resident, I agree that Sunnyvale was a very special place. The sun shone on a city of hope and optimism: a center of new technology where anything might be possible; a friendly town where the streets were named for flowers and fruits and birds and there was an active, ongoing campaign to add even more park space and trees; and especially, I agree, a town which cared for its citizens and actually listened to them.
Alas, Mr. Mayor, over the past decade the sun has dimmed. What you extol as a record of “collaboration and partnership between Community, Business, and Government” has too often been reduced to collaboration between Business and Government only: How else, for example, to explain:
- the catastrophe of the LinkedIn construction which towers oppressively over a long-established single-family-home neighborhood?
- the readiness of the Council to repeatedly ignore the guidelines of the City’s General Plan, but instead to extend serious anti-code dispensations to developers, with little regard for deleterious effects on local traffic, neighborhood schools, and air quality?
- the unwillingness of many on the Council to recuse themselves from decisions involving business and political groups from whom they have received large donations (or at minimum, to simply state — before voting — that such contributions were made and taken)?
- and, above all, Council’s censure of Councilmember Patrick Meyering, who had the courage to question such actions as those described above?
My hope is that Sunnyvale will return to being a city which pays heed to the voices of the entire community, including the people who live here — not just the people who commute through it or those who want to build, build, build until we can no longer see the sky. With that in mind, Mr. Mayor, I beg to differ from you. Because we need to return to genuine collaboration, I am supporting Frazer, Hoffman, and Merrick for City Council.