Menlo Park Mayor Kirsten Keith hosted a Google+ Hangout Thursday night to chat candidly with San Mateo County residents, an act that may set a precedent for local politicians.
Kirsten Keith fielded calls from county residents about job creation tactics, park preservation, and ways to eliminate red tape for small business owners online in real time.
The Hangout was also streamed on YouTube, echoing President Obama’s tactics of reaching voters through familiar technology. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee was the first mayor to do it in the Bay Area, according to Google.
Some of the highlights of Keith's Hangout include her readiness to preserve county parks; she cited Flood Park as an example. is a county managed park in the middle of Menlo Park that was scheduled to be closed last year. to keep it open.
“Parks keep people healthy and happy,” she said. “It’s important that we keep them open.” She described her hiking group as something that gave her a great joy in her spare time.
Getting down to business, Keith said one of the ways to create jobs and help small business owners would be to speak with “absentee landlords” to eradicate “onerous requirements.”
“We need to be realistic about the cost of square footage pricing of office space, so that the cost of office space is not so high that they can’t come in and start a business,” Keith said.
She stressed that she wants to make sure that small businesses don’t have to go through unnecessary red tape to grow.
“I think small businesses have enough on their plate,” Keith said.
is a candidate for the on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.
County residents also asked her how she would address the county deficit.
Keith replied that if elected, she would certainly not give raises to upper level management.
“That’s not okay at a time when we’re asking people to take cuts," she said. "It doesn’t send a good message, and it’s not good for morale."
Keith promised to scrutinize pensions and sit down with labor groups to have discussions about how well funded they are.
Election Day is June 5.