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COMMUNITY OPINION: An elected official speaks out about the elected

Recent meetings of the Hollister City Council and San Benito County Board of Supervisors have shown a lot of bad behavior by some of our elected. We should look to understand why, and ask participants to do better.

This opinion was contributed by Hollister School District Trustee Rob Bernosky. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent BenitoLink or other affiliated contributors.

Reading about the behavior that is going on with the Hollister City Council and the mayor, and to a lesser extent, the lunch break issue with the county supervisors, hurts. I know most of the people involved and although I clearly disagree with some of their votes, I respect them immensely, and clearly can call some friends. I have been (as a minor elected official) in their shoes. Emotions can run high over issues and left unchecked, does hurt our community.

At least for me, where the emotions come from is the type of office the elected individual holds. When elected to a board, one is a representative, not an executive leader. The difference is that the solo leader can speak whenever he/she wants. The representative leader speaks from a dais and their ability to have their voice heard in an official capacity can be limited by the others on the dais. That limiting, when intentional, is where we get into a lot of trouble.

While it is true that majority rules on board-type entities, the emotions run high when those in the minority get shut out of being able to express their opinions. What many forget is elected people get their jobs because of their opinions. It is important to the Republic that everyone’s opinion is allowed to be heard and fellow board members take into account what each member says. This situation gets exasperated when the tactics of some is to shout, attack, and block (and many times) is not accompanied by any facts of their own. So those in the minority get shut down, and the facts they have often are not brought to light or even discussed. Valid questions the minority pose oftentimes do not have to be answered by the majority because they know they already have the votes.

What I have observed is that some elected lose their individualism and become part of a clique. With their majority, they block items from the agenda, assist in the causing of those in the minority not being able to state facts, and just do things that shut out the minority from participating. While today the behavior of the legislature (House of Representatives, US Senate, State Assembly, State Senate) is pretty low, there is still a modicum of decorum and individuals are seemingly given ample opportunity to speak.

Considering my own elected position, so many problems lingered for years, and I believe it is because the culture of the Hollister School District was not unlike that of which I described above. Things are getting better, but for the first two years it was an uphill fight for me personally. I think our board president today is more agreeable to me being heard, our new superintendent is a calming presence, and I think the Hollister School Board is poised to be a positive educational force in San Benito County as a result.

I would think that the citizens of San Benito County would be better served if all of their elected debated honestly, with facts, and for those that shut others down, to be called out for it. Does the mayor have valid points, especially about the 400 Block and how nefarious people are using fake social media accounts to manipulate the caricature of him?  Absolutely. Is the growing of marijuana and smoking of it a source of obnoxious odors to many? Of course. Do most controversial agenda items take longer than 10 minutes? Yes they do. Are developers influencing our elections? I don’t know because all I have heard is shouting.

A final thought: If the meetings of city councils, county supervisors, and school boards are held in such a way that those in the minority are shut out, it is not inappropriate for those elected who cannot speak from the dais to turn to social media or the news media to get their opinions stated. We elect people because of their opinions, and we would all be better off to honestly consider what the minority has to say. They just may be right sometimes.

 

 

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thepracticalconservative's picture
About:
Rob Bernosky (thepracticalcon...)

Rob Bernosky is a chief financial officer, Regional Vice Chair for the California Republican Party, and is an elected school board member of the Hollister School District. He formerly served as a member and secretary of the Citizens' Oversight Committee for the Hollister School District. Rob is a former elected trustee of the North County Joint Union School District, and has served on numerous other boards, including the Heritage Foundation of San Benito County, a local water company, chairman of the San Benito County Republican Party, and was a member and president of the San Benito County Committee on School District Organization. Rob is married with 3 children, including 2 who are teachers in public schools and 1 in college.

Comments

“If the meetings of city councils, county supervisors, and school boards are held in such a way that those in the minority are shut out, it is not inappropriate for those elected who cannot speak from the dais to turn to social media or the news media to get their opinions stated.” 

It is completely inappropriate for those elected to turn to social media with false unsubstantiated accusations. It is unbecoming of the position they have been elected to represent our community. You Robert Bernosky, the God fearing man you are should not tolerate unethical and immoral behavior. A lie is a lie is a lie. 

Submitted by Josh G on

I agree with that 110%

Rob I am not sure what exactly your trying to say but I don’t belong to any clique. The so called minority (your word) does not lack speaking time at the dias or social media. It’s been my observation that we do work well together on many items of city business. I vote projects Rob not personalities.  I don’t always get my way on the City Council but I move on and sometimes I can even go with the flow out of solidarity but I have limits depending on the subject. 

thepracticalconservative's picture

Carol,

I was not calling you out specifically.  Overall, when I step back and observe the caricature of the Hollister City Council, the San Benito County Board of Supervisors, and the Hollister School District, it is not a pretty sight.  Being somewhat involved, I can see how some can become frustrated, and in fact, how I have been frustrated.  When I write some of things that I do, it is to let the public know how I view things, and my perception of how things work.  I want people to think about and discuss the topics of the day without the shouting, attacking, non-fact based and dismissive behavior that seems to dominate politics and governance these days. 

There are and always will be differences of opinion on issues, these are to be expected and are part of the political process, denial of basic rights to address those issues is another matter entirely.  Those actions cannot be passed off merely as routine disagreement, they go to the heart of democracy, equal treatment and freedom of expression

If a member of the City Council is unjustly denied the right of appeal specified and detailed in the city's Municipal Code everyone that council member represents is being denied their right to fair representation.

That's not a "ho-hum" event, it's exactly the same as gagging one-quarter of the city's citizens and it demands that the party whose rights were violated speak out and loudly.  The voters should expect their elected representatives to jealously guard their rights, if you give those up without a fight you have no say on anything in the end.

Marty Richman, Hollister City Council, District 4

 

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