LosAltospoltico: Our Guest Opinion writer today is Anabel Pelham, former Senior Commission member and career gerontologist at SFSU Medical School. She was key in getting Los Altos designated as an age-friedly city. She urges you to phone, or write city council before the Council’s Tuesday, 7pm meeting urging them not to abolish the Los Altos Senior Commission. Or perhaps you can attend the meeting and speak in the public comment period for this item.
March 8, 2016, 7pm Agenda
Item 5 Report.pdf (J. Bruins and M. Prochow)
How to Take Action
Make a public comment at the March 8, 7 pm meeting
Or send one email to the the entire city council: firstname.lastname@example.org
– Letter from Analbel Pelham –
Dear Mayor and members of the Los Altos City Council,This letter is a strong recommendation not to abolish the Los Altos Senior Commission. Such a decision is on the wrong side of history. It is totally against the initiatives and values of the global, state and county efforts to empower and seat seniors at the table of power and policy that affects seniors’ lives.
The Los Altos Senior Commission was an inspired idea and a long-time in the making. It placed Los Altos on the map as a progressive and pioneering city in leadership and aging. It is a model of collaboration between the City of Los Altos and the City of Los Altos Hills. It has achieved much: a comprehensive seniors’ needs assessment that gathered valuable data; a variety of projects including Grant Park senior center; informed and evidence-based recommendations for best practices in senior centers. These accomplishments are documented in the work plans and annual reports submitted to the Los Altos City Council.
The Los Altos Senior Commission embodies best practices for senior leadership. It was essential in making Los Altos the first World Health Organization age-friendly city in California. It has been a light of hope and presence to the one-third of the population of Los Altos who often find themselves relegated to the rear when it comes to programs and services. The Senior Commission has been and should continue to be a strong voice for seniors in our community.
Abolishing the Los Altos Senior Commission is Wrong-headed and Tone-deaf
- It violates two domains of an age-friendly city: civic participation/respect and social inclusion
- It takes Los Altos backwards regarding senior leadership and inclusion. Best practice recommends using senior commissions to involve seniors in the formulation of an Aging Social Policy
- It is against the flow of the Santa Clara County initiative to create World Health Organization age-friendly cites in the other 13 County cities by 2017
- It abolishes the official, chartered voice of seniors in Los Altos
- It makes undemocratic structural and organizational changes disenfranchising seniors in Los Altos by burying them under bureaucratic staff layers without direct reporting to the City Council
- It discriminates against seniors by unequal treatment; senior forums or the like are NOT senior commissions with the legitimacy and authority to speak for seniors
Anabel Pelham, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita, Gerontology
San Francisco State University
President, National Association for Professional Gerontologists
Founding Director, CAFE
Center for Age-Friendly Excellence
Los Altos Community Foundation, Los Altos, CA, USA