I have attended many public meetings in my long career in government and as a community leader. Chairing public meetings takes a deft touch. One of the best I have ever witnessed at chairing a public meeting was Joan Hartmann as the Chair of the County Planning Commission. She had not been in the role long, but she was very adept at listening, really listening to public speakers.

During deliberations, she encouraged discussion — not just pontifications — among her fellow commissioners. She demonstrated great skill in bringing her fellow commissioners along to support her positions. And where she truly excelled was asking staff hard questions, questions they sometimes could not answer.

On occasion, she had to overcome staff inertia and resistance. Instead of allowing staff to spoon-feed a conclusion to the Planning Commission, she insisted that staff present actual options for the decision makers to consider. She had to do her homework and was ready and able to challenge questionable statements while maintaining an atmosphere of dignity and respect.

If you want truly capable leader, vote for Joan Hartmann for 3rd District Supervisor.


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