Bonilla: I challenge my Planning Commission rivals to a public discussion

In anticipation of next week’s Planning Commission appointment, SOMOS Mayfair this week released an op-ed seeking an opportunity “to hear directly from the candidates and learn about their qualifications to represent us.” I completely agree with this request and find it to be reasonable for candidates seeking to fill a position of public service.

Since the list of candidates was made available to the public, I have made it very clear that there is tremendous value in all three candidates coming together to discuss the issues. Today, I reaffirm my desire to debate the other two finalists, and challenge them to a debate anytime before the City Council vote on Sept. 17.

The fundamental truth is, as the largest city in the Bay Area, and the 10th largest city in the nation, there is too much at stake to appoint someone who does not have the experience to navigate the complexities of San Jose land use policy.

If a candidate cannot stand the pressure of being in front of the public answering questions, how are we to expect that individual to make good public policy in a room full of passionate residents for a difficult vote? There is an absolute correlation between how a candidate navigates the process of becoming a city official, and how they do the work of the people once in the position.

In the SOMOS Mayfair op-ed, they asked what Planning Commission candidates will do to ensure the community has a voice, and how we will work to develop new commissioners in the future.

These questions are valid, and absolutely demand a response from all candidates in the running. I would argue that, if you are not willing to stand for a debate before the residents of our city, you have clearly demonstrated you are not up for the job. If you are not accessible as a candidate, you clearly will not be accessible as a commissioner. Actions always speak louder than words.

Additionally, as public servants, we should always embrace an invitation by the community to stand before them and share our ideas, and listen to their points of view because we are here to serve the public.

As a candidate for the San Jose Planning Commission, I stand ready, willing and able to debate the other two finalists. All they have to do is say yes.

Rolando Bonilla is a District 5  East San Jose resident and a finalist for one vacancy on the San Jose Planning Commission. He serves as the chief strategy officer of Voler Strategic Advisors.

Editor’s Note: The CEO of Voler Strategic Advisors, Perla A. Rodriguez, sits on San José Spotlight’s Board of Directors.

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