Kathy Watanabe is the incumbent running in District 1. I am running in District 4. So why am I writing? It is concerning when a candidate in another race can stifle discussions in public forums for everyone.
Anyone who has seen Kathy in council would question her readings of the packets, and certainly any knowledge she would have gained from the discussions, as she routinely ignores much of the input and moves along with the majority bloc agenda, as if incapable of processing new information. Her participation in the candidate forums has not done anything to improve her optics, and now it is the capabilities of her supporters to process this information that I am concerned about. The fact she is unwilling to participate in open discussions without knowing the questions in advance, or without having to address — let alone defend — the issues that have happened on the current council’s watch, has affected every “forum” she participates in, and every candidate response. It seems that she can only ignore issues in council chambers.
She does not seem able to answer questions on her own with any prompts, cannot seem to address current city issues, and has outright refused to participate in candidate meetings that did not follow her ground rules. At the Silicon Valley Central Chamber of Commerce’s Santa Clara Business Council forum, Kathy stopped the proceedings even before she began, chastising the moderator and reminding him that she had set the terms for the meeting: https://www.facebook.com/SVCChamber/videos/3472318039478235/ (around 4 minutes in).
The closest her opponent Harbir Bhatia had gotten to a direct attack on Kathy seems to be:
“My opponent proposed and supported the reduction and removal of the Visitors Bureau, which brought in $130,000,000 of economic benefit. But ’til this year we still don’t have another one and we’re paying $500,000 still without a new Visitors Bureau.”Harbir Bhatia, candidate, District 1
Kathy shut the moderator down when it was her turn to introduce herself:
“I have my reservations, Christian, because we have discussed this. I have already provided the ground rules. And if this is any indication of what this is going to be like, then I refuse to participate because this is not what I was told this was going to be about. This is about questions and answers and statements, not attacks.”Kathy Watanabe, incumbent, District 1
What an introduction. But it was not new; she did a similar thing at the Stonewall Democrats’ interview: (link forthcoming)
So now every forum allows her to read her responses, without having to deviate to respond to issues or comments brought up in the discussions. Actually, “discussions” is the wrong word, because they are essentially readings or recitations of public statements. And every other participant has to follow suit. This makes it harder for candidates in other races to bring up issues or respond as well, even in their own races.
Kathy is just reading.
Every other candidate seems to be able to handle comments about current issues and statements that support or oppose candidate stances. But not Kathy. The fact that her supporters are okay with this kind of behavior and level of representation has me concerned about the residents in her district as well.
Kathy could at least read with a little more emotion.
As an engineer, when am I worried about the quality of a product? When the demo team only allows the product to be seen from one viewpoint, or the interactions are controlled by the product team. When every in-person interaction can be replaced with a video, the question we have to ask is: What are they hiding?